Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR April 2010 Contents [HEADLINES
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US company General Atomics Aeronautical
Systems announced on April 6 that its
Predator UAS has reached a historic
industry mil eston e, with combat mission s
over the previous weekend pushing its proven
aircraft family over the one million flight hours
mark. The milestone encompasses just under
80,000 total missions, with over 85-percent of all
missions flown in combat.
“The business of GA-ASI is the development
of transform ational sy stem s which deliver
paradigm changing res ults,” said J. Neal
Blue, Chairman and CEO, General Atomics
Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
of this historic milestone is a testament to the
success enjoyed by Predator-series unmanned
aircraft systems – clearly one of the game
changers and life savers of the day.”
The identification of the specific aircraft and
customer that achieved the milestone will not
be known until mid-May due to delayed flight
hours reporting from the field. Predator-series
UAS are in constant daily operations supporting
the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Ar my, U.S. Navy, U.S.
Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the
Italian Air Force, the U.K.’s Royal Air Force, and
other customers. Over 400 aircraft have been
produced since the first Predator UAS took flight
in 1994, including Predator A, I-GNAT® ER/
Sky Warrior® Alpha, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper,
Sky Warrior, and Predator C Avenger®, among
“This combin ed customer accomplishment
refl ects the high demand that in -theater
comman ders have for the Predator product,
as well as the exceptional contributions of our
employees, suppliers, and partners,” said Frank
Pace, newly appointed president of GA-ASI’s
Aircraft Systems Group.
Predator-s eries flight hours h ave s een
tremendous growth in recent years, with annual
totals increasing from 80,000 hours in 2006, to
130,000 hours in 2007, 235,000 hours in 2008,
and 295,000 hours in 2009. The one million flight
hours milestone also comes at a time of great
synergy for GA-ASI and its major customers,
with the U.S. Air Force announcing on March
12 that it has surpassed 700,000 flight hours
for the MQ-1B Predator UAS and the U.S. Army
revealing that it is on track to mark one million
flight hours for its UAS inventory this month.
Predator-series UAS family achieves
one million flight hours
The GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team an noun ced on March 22
that it successfully hit full afterburner on its third new production-
configuration engine, continuing a year of major progress and milestones
for the F136 program.
The afterbur ner tests were conducted in an advanced testing facility at GE.
The company says all major objectives have been reached during this phase
of testing, which included an engine nozzle common to both F-35 engine
The Joint Strike Fighter aircraft was designed from its inception to include
interchangeability with the F136 engine.
Six F136 engines are scheduled for testing this year, to measure engine
performance and endurance as the competitive engine for the F-35 program
continues to demonstrate steady progress and significant milestones.
F136 performance is meeting all expectations in terms of thrust, temperature
margins, and fuel consumption -- confir ming the vital role that it will play
competing in the Joint Strike Fighter program over several decades.
“We are marching along in development, making progress every day, and
achieving full afterburner on our newest engine demonstrates the capability
and success of the F136 team. It also means the F-35 program is another step
closer to reaping the proven benefits of enduring competition in the engine
program”, said Al DiLibero, President of the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine
“This year will be the biggest yet for the F136 program as we ramp up our
test program and move toward flight test. The F136 is designed specifically for
the F-35 aircraft, with an engine core sized for the aircraft s current and future
needs”, said Mark Rhodes, Senior Vice President of the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter
on third new
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