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GA-ASI Wins Carrier-Launched UAV Study Contract

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GA-ASI's Carrier-Launched UAS Bid Moves Forward With Award of U.S. Navy Study Contract

(Source: General Atomics Aeronautical; issued August 16, 2011)

AUVSI NORTH AMERICA, WASHINGTON --- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced that the U.S. Navy recently awarded the company a study contract to support pre-Milestone A activities for the service’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program. This study contract supports the UCLASS program’s pre-Milestone A program activities.

“We’re pleased with this first stage award and remain committed to providing the Navy with timely delivery of a robust, affordable, and versatile aircraft carrier-based UAS that delivers superior ISR and strike capabilities satisfying the Navy’s future needs,” said Frank Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

The Navy’s UCLASS study calls for an open, adaptive architecture and disciplined systems engineering approach in order to identify and assess potential trade space. In response, GA-ASI plans to capitalize on this and its parallel engineering assessments to develop an affordable, low-risk, high-technology solution that leverages nearly 20 years of Predator/Gray Eagle-series UAS development, manufacturing, system support, and 1.5 million flight hours of operational experience to date.

Many GA-ASI aircraft elements, components, and subsystems already provide the mature, proven, and reliable mission capabilities desired by the Navy. The UCLASS program is also expected to leverage existing, deployed DOD systems to launch, recover, and control the UAS autonomously, transfer UAS data in support of persistent ISR operations and time-critical strike.

Awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the eight-month study contract calls for development of a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and for support for analysis of alternative activities. In addition, it requires analysis of the relative maturity and near-term availability of UCLASS-relevant technologies and identifying ways to shorten key development, test, and certification timelines.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing unmanned aircraft, radar, and electro-optic solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable unmanned aircraft systems, including Predator A, Predator B, Gray Eagle, and the new Predator C Avenger.