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Sky Warrior UAS enters initial production for Army's ER/MP program

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA?ASI), a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and surveillance systems, today announced that it has received $195.5 million in funding from the U.S. Army towards an estimated $399 million contract to provide supplemental hardware and Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of its Sky Warrior® UAS in support of the Army's Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) UAS program.

Full funding is expected later this summer and will provide for 34 Sky Warrior aircraft, 16 One System Ground Control Stations (OSGCS) made by AAI Corporation, airborne and ground Tactical Control Data Link (TCDL) equipment produced by L-3 Communications West, and various other items to include automatic landing systems, spares, and ground support equipment. Beginning December 2010, the company is scheduled to deliver over two aircraft a month through the end of 2012.

GA-ASI also recently received a $55.8 million contract for Production Ready Test Assets (PRTA) to support Initial Operational Test activities planned for September 2011. This contract added four Sky Warrior aircraft, two OSGCS', and associated equipment. In addition, the company has received a $78.5 million contract for logistical and maintenance support at two OCONUS deployment sites and at the UAS Training Base at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

"The timing of this contract award is ideal as it allows GA-ASI to enter into low-rate production on Sky Warrior at the same time that Predator® A production is concluding," said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. "Soldiers will benefit greatly from the fully capable Sky Warrior system features, including four HELLFIRE missiles, autoland and takeoff, and de-icing capabilities."

Pace credits this early success to several key accomplishments:

• Completion of Milestone C review in February 2010 which paved the way for LRIP. Milestone C assessed production readiness and program acquisition maturity and included the completion of a key HELLFIRE P+ missile test event in late 2009.

• Deployment of Sky Warrior Block 1 (ER/MP program version) in August 2009. This Quick Reaction Capability-1(QRC-1) deployment has produced significant feedback from the field that will be incorporated into the QRC-2 deployment scheduled in the form of software, hardware, and operational procedure upgrades.

• Deployment of Sky Warrior Block 0 in April 2008 as a quick-reaction program to meet urgent operational needs. The Block 0 aircraft features the same advanced aircraft design, diesel engine, and highly redundant avionics as the Sky Warrior Block 1 version.

This significant contract award comes at the same time that the U.S. Army is celebrating the achievement of one million flight hours for its entire unmanned aircraft systems fleet.

GA-ASI Sky Warrior Alpha and Sky Warrior UAS have logged some 145,000 flight hours in service with the U.S. Army, comprising approximately 15 percent of all Army UAS flight hours. The company has produced over 50 aircraft for the Army since the first I-GNAT® ER deployed to Iraq in March 2004 to support the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), and its aircraft have achieved the highest operational availability rates in U.S. Army aviation.

"As quantities of these fielded systems increase and as we improve the capabilities of these aircraft, their ability to support the Warfighter also increases," said Col. Gregory Gonzalez, project manager for the Army's Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "Unmanned aircraft such as the ER/MP has fundamentally changed the accuracy and lethality of our Soldiers' weaponry, increased the safety of our Soldiers, and even changed the way Soldiers see and understand the terrain and situations they face during conflict. I am extremely proud of our ER/MP Team."

Press release issued by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems on July 9, 2010


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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Airframer
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