Unmanned air vehicle manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI, H2/A9) is testing the Predator C Avenger with payloads and expanding the performance envelope.
"Predator C is going well," says Frank Pace, president of GA-ASI's aircraft systems division. "We have the second airplane up and flying. We're doing all the various flight tests, performance, payloads, things like that. We are getting to the point where we're going to start building one every six months or every nine months, depending on customer requirements."
Predator C, is a highly modified, jet-powered version of the Predator B, which is designated MQ-9 Reaper in US and UK service. Two Predator C have flown and one has been purchased by the US Air Force for evaluation.
GA-ASI intends to ramp up production to build one Predator C every nine months, with plans to build one every six months depending on orders. The company declined to talk about whether more aircraft have been sold, and to whom. "Let's just say we are moving into production of one every six to nine months."
The flying aircraft are currently undergoing envelope expansion and payload integration testing.
""I just heard this morning that the Canadians are potentially interested in that aircraft. There's export interest in that aircraft as well from the UK," says Pace.