Predator B big wing Remotely Piloted Aircraft, flies over 37 hours non-stop, setting a new endurance flight record for this type of airplane.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, announced the longest endurance flight of the Predator® B/MQ-9 Reaper® Big Wing aircraft, a next-generation derivative of the combat-proven Predator B RPA.
Images credit General Atomics
David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, said:
“This long-endurance flight demonstrates Predator B Big Wing’s game-changing potential for providing life-saving persistent ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) in support of U.S. and coalition warfighters. Our company continually strives to extend Predator B’s already impressive endurance further, pushing the aircraft’s capabilities to its full potential.”
The recent endurance flight is a continuation of a test program that began on February 18th at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. The most recent flight proved Predator B Big Wing’s ability to boost flight time by over ten hours while replicating an operational mission in altitude and maneuver profile.
During the flight, Predator B Big Wing demonstrated its ability to launch, climb to an operational altitude, loiter and conduct reconnaissance maneuvers, and land after 37.5 hours without incident. A follow-on test program will be conducted to expand its flight envelope further and push its endurance profile to the limit.
Predator B Big Wing also offers short-field takeoff and landing performance, as well as active lift spoilers on the wings which enable precision automatic landings. Its wings have additional hard points for carrying external stores and provisions for a leading-edge de-icing system and integrated low- and high-band Radio Frequency (RF) antennas.
source General Atomics