General Atomics, Selex team up for Predator B sensor demonstration

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Unmanned air system manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and European radar specialist Selex Galileo have demonstrated their ability to swiftly integrate new surveillance payloads with the former's Predator B.

An official demonstration of a Predator B carrying Selex's Seaspray 7500E radar was conducted from General Atomics' Gray Butte flight operations facilities in Palmdale, California over the Pacific on 16 May. The activity was performed in front of observers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA.


© General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

"The event showcased the radar's ability to track targets on land, in the littoral and maritime environments, and from air-to-air," General Atomics says. The UAS and radar combination was first flown on 4 April, and demonstrated at altitudes to 13,000ft (4,000m).

Also involving Cobham Aviation Services, the sovereign payload capability demonstration was intended to prove that nations operating the US-manufactured Predator B could have the ability to integrate new sensors as part of future upgrades to the type.


© General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

The integration activity and demonstration was performed using internal research and development funds provided by General Atomics and Selex.

"Our open payload architecture greatly reduces integration complexity by allowing payload providers and mission systems integrators to develop their own payload control software and ultimately integrate their own payloads," says Frank Pace, president of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' Aircraft Systems Group.

Selex is in the process of developing a new mission management system for unmanned systems named skyISTAR.