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First pre-production Sky Warrior aircraft takes flight

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA?ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and tactical reconnaissance radars, today announced that the first Sky WarriorTM aircraft flew successfully from the company's El Mirage Flight Operations Facility in Adelanto, Calif., on June 6.  The company-owned Block 0 aircraft completed all stated objectives for its maiden flight. 

"We are very pleased with Sky Warrior's flawless performance on its first flight," said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.  "Its success credits the remarkable talents of our many dedicated Team Warrior professionals and marks an important step in our commitment to provide the U.S. Army with this most capable combat aircraft.  Sky Warrior aircraft will play a key role supporting Army forces worldwide for years to come."

The flight marked an important milestone in the successful execution of GA-ASI's multi-year contract for the U.S. Army's Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Program.  Built in essentially the same configuration as the Sky Warrior UAS being developed for the ER/MP Program, additional Sky Warrior Block 0 aircraft will be produced to demonstrate the maturity of the technology being incorporated into the program.  These aircraft will deploy to Southwest Asia early next year to showcase the capability of the design to support the development phase of ER/MP.  The deployment will also provide an accelerated capability of the program to support deployed Army combat troops. 

A derivative of the combat-proven Predator®, the innovative and technologically sophisticated Sky Warrior aircraft provides the U.S. Army with a reliable, affordable and compelling solution to meet challenging Army requirements for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and tactical strike operations.  The aircraft will perform long-endurance, surveillance, communications relay, and weapons delivery missions with double the weapons capacity of Predator.  Featuring a Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) for increased supportability in the field, Sky Warrior can fly above 29,000 feet on jet or diesel fuel with increased horsepower and significantly improved fuel efficiency.  The HFE power plant also reduces maintenance costs, offers increased service life, and greatly simplifies logistics by ensuring a more readily available fuel source.  The aircraft is also equipped with triple redundant avionics, redundant flight controls/surfaces, and electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) payloads.

Press release issued by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems on June 14, 2007


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