General Atomics Tests 2nd Predator-C Avenger UAV
General Atomics announced Feb. 7 that it has test flown a second unmanned Predator-C Avenger combat aircraft.
The aircraft was first flown on Jan. 12 at the companyís Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.
According to General Atomicís press release, the partially stealthy jet met all of its performance objectives for the sortie. The second aircraft has a fuselage that is four feet longer than the first Avenger prototype to fit in more fuel and payload capacity.
The jet can carry 3,500 pounds of weapons and equipment internally and has wing hard points that can carry 500 pounds to 2,000 pounds class weapons.
The U.S. Air Force had signaled its intent to buy one Avenger-model aircraft last year, which the service will use for test purposes. The C-model is by far the fastest and most capable of the Predator family, which includes the original Predator-A, MQ-9 Reaper, and the MQ-1C Grey Eagle.
The Avenger can fly at more than 400 knots true airspeed and has an endurance of more than 16 hours. It can also be equipped with a Lynx multi-mode radar, an electro-optical/infrared camera. The aircraft has a 44-foot long fuselage, a 66-foot wingspan.
General Atomics says it is building the third and fourth Avenger jets, with the next aircraft expected to fly by late summer. The fourth will fly early next year.
Source: By Dave Majumdar, 07 February 2012 - Gannett Government Media / DefenceNews (www.defensenews.com)
Photo: General Atomics Tests 2nd Predator-C Avenger UAV (Photo by http://htka.hu)