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U.S. Customs & Border Protection Makes History With Launch Of Predator B UAV

San Diego (SPX) Oct 03, 2005
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft and high resolution surveillance and radar imaging systems, along with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today unveiled the CBP's first procurement unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a Predator B UAS, at Sierra Vista Muni\Libby Army Airfield in Ft. Huachuca, Arizona.

"Today marks the beginning of new chapter in using unmanned aircraft systems to secure our nation's borders as Predator B offers the CBP a superior over land reconnaissance solution," said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

"The ability to meet CBP's aggressive delivery schedule of 30 days from contract award was no doubt key to realizing today's historical moment."

The Predator B system, which will provide long-endurance surveillance and communications relay in support of the CBP's Arizona Control Initiative (ABCI), will be operated and maintained by GA-ASI personnel in close cooperation with CBP Border Patrol agents who will assist in the command and control of the UAS from a Ground Control Station (GCS) located at Ft. Huachuca.

Real-time images from the aircraft will enable proper assessment of intrusions and eliminate false alarm responses by agents, thereby increasing their patrolling effectiveness. Predator B is also expected to provide agents with a detailed "birds eye view," particularly in remote portions of the border where CBP Border Patrol agents cannot travel easily or safely and infrastructure is difficult or impossible to build.

"To secure our nation's borders is priority number one," said Robert C. Bonner, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"CBP now owns and operates the most advanced state-of-the-art technology and is capitalizing on the Predator B unmanned aircraft system to secure the country better. This 'eye in the sky' will not only support the 'boots on the ground' but will also allow us to deploy resources more effectively, ultimately enhancing our ability to gain operational control of our borders."

Powered by a turboprop engine, Predator B is a long-endurance, high-altitude unmanned aircraft designed for use as a multi-mission system -- from reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and weapons delivery to scientific research and other civilian applications.

Predator B is based on the reliability of the Predator airframe, avionics, mechanical systems, data link, and flight control technology but has a 500 percent greater payload capacity than Predator (800 lbs. internal, 3,000 lbs. external), an endurance over 30 hours, speeds greater than 220 knots, and can operate above 50,000 feet.

It features a fault-tolerant redundant flight control system with triple-redundant avionics for increased reliability and can be configured with a variety of weapons, carrying up to 3,000 pounds of external ordnance. Predator B is ideally suited for homeland security, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and allied navies and coast guard missions that require a reliable maritime and littoral surveillance solution.

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Piasecki Aircraft Awarded Two Contracts For Army's FCS Class II & III UAV Systems
Essington, UK (SPX) Sep 30, 2005
Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (Piasecki) has been awarded two Phase 1 contracts for Class II and III Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) systems for the Army's Future Combat System (FCS) program.

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