PICTURES: General Atomics reveals Predator C 'Avenger' UAV

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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has released the first public images and the new name of its Predator C "Avenger" unmanned air vehicle.

The pictures reveal a stealthy design powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545B; the same engine that powers the Cessna Citation XLS business jet. The UAV's 20m (66ft) wingspan is swept at 17°, allowing a maximum speed of over 400kt (740km/h), General Atomics says. Operating altitude can exceed 60,000ft, the company adds.

Further details about specifications and performance are not being released. But company officials acknowledge that a second aircraft is already in production with a 0.61m fuselage extension, raising overall length to just over 13.1m.

The first Avenger has completed at least three test flights, with the first flight recorded on 4 April at the Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, California.

The UAV is designed to operate in the same hunter-killer role as General Atomics' Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, but with a significantly faster response time. The manufacturer confirms it is also developing a new full motion video sensor for the aircraft.

The Avenger could also carry General Atomics' Lynx synthetic aperture radar and a forward-looking infrared sensor adapted from the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

 general atomics aeronautical systems
 © General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator C UAV

 general atomics aeronautical systems
 © General Atomics Aeronautical Systems