General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) this week formally named its Type-Certifiable PREDATOR B variant before an international audience of dignitaries from nine nations. SKYGUARDIAN, the result of a five-year company funded effort, leverages the legacy of the 2 million flight hours achieved by the PREDATOR B fleet, delivering an aircraft that can operate under the stringent airworthiness requirements of non-military airspace. The maritime patrol variant will be known as SEAGUARDIAN.
With an endurance of more than 35 hours, SKYGUARDIAN can reach altitudes in excess of 14,000m and speeds up to 210kts, providing operators with a platform fully compliant with NATO’s UAV System airworthiness requirements (enshrined in STANAG 4671) and the UK’s DEFSTAN 00-970. The company has also worked with German authorities to define airworthiness requirements for German national airspace.
GA-ASI is building three company-owned aircraft and two airframes intended specifically for full-scale fatigue and static testing to satisfy type-certification requirements. The first production aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2018.
"The SKYGUARDIAN name reflects the system's role in protecting ground forces, as well as its performance of non-military missions like border-surveillance, maritime patrol, and relief over-watch in cases of natural disaster," Linden Blue, CEO at GA-ASI, commented.