General Atomics Aeronautical Systems celebrates its 25th year anniversary with a series of employee and customer outreach activities that will continue over the next year.
“We are excited to celebrate this milestone with our dedicated team of employees, our suppliers, and the many customers and partners who have helped GA-ASI grow as a successful business over the past 25 years,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI.
Headquartered in Poway, California, GA-ASI currently employs nearly 8,000 people in a business that spans multiple facilities in San Diego, the Mojave Desert, Arizona, Utah, North Dakota, and others adjacent to various customer locations across the United States and around the globe. Through its supplier contracts, the company employs over 10,000 additional people across the U.S.
GA-ASI started on April 28, 1992 in the same year that the company won its first contract award for six GNAT®-750 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by the Turkish government.
In 1994, the company won its first major program award for the Predator® RPA from the U.S. Joint Program Office, which was later transferred to the U.S. Air Force. Predator is the most combat-proven RPA in the world and continues to excel in combat missions, as well as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. GA-ASI’s long-endurance, mission-capable RPA with integrated sensors and data link systems deliver persistent situational awareness and rapid strike capabilities.
“We are proud of our long and distinguished history supporting the warfighter,” said Blue. “From Predator, to Predator B, Gray Eagle, Avenger®, and their many mission configurations, our aircraft and payload systems continue to address changing missions requirements for U.S. military and civilian users. Our Predator B is in service with Allied nations around the world including the United Kingdom, Italy, and France.”
As part of its mission to develop transformational technologies that deliver game-changing results, GA-ASI has been at the forefront of efforts to integrate UAS safely into the National Airspace System (NAS). In 2005, the company’s Altair® aircraft received the FAA’s first Experimental Airworthiness Certificate for a UAS.
“This first step in aircraft certification reinforced our ongoing commitment to work with the FAA, along with foreign regulatory authorities, to enable routine UAS operations in both national and international airspace for emerging civil and commercial applications,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI.
Today, the company’s MQ-9B SkyGuardianTM is designed to be certified for a 40,000-hour service life, operate in all-weather conditions, and be the first RPA system of its kind to meet NATO airworthiness requirements. GA-ASI demonstrated its MQ-9B earlier this year before an audience of international dignitaries in Palmdale, Calif. The United Kingdom recently became the first MQ-9B customer under the country’s MQ-9B PROTECTOR Program.
MQ-9B SkyGuardian recently set a company record for the longest endurance flight of any Predator-series aircraft, flying for 48.2 hours non-stop.