General Atomics (GA) Aeronautical Systems hopes to make the delayed first flight of its Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at its El Mirage, California test site this month.

The aircraft is the first of three Predator variants being developed for NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology programme. All three are more powerful, longer range and greater endurance variants of the Predator UAV used by the US Air Force.

The first and third aircraft are powered by a Honeywell TPE331-10T turboprop, while the second aircraft will be powered by a Williams-Rolls FJ44-2. The third aircraft, which has a larger wingspan than the others, is expected to fly in March 2002.

Source: Flight International