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Frost & Sullivan Recognizes GA-ASI as Outstanding

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc : 21 January, 2009  (Special Report)
Frost & Sullivan Recognizes GA-ASI as the Outstanding Provider of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Tactical Reconnaissance Radars for the U.S. Armed Forces
Based on its recent analysis of the U.S. unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) market, Frost & Sullivan presents General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) with the 2008 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Company of the Year for its exceptional display of leadership and innovation. When GA-ASI’s Predator UAS took its maiden flight in 1994, it started a revolution that changed the way wars will be fought for years to come. Today the series has logged over 600,000 flight hours with more than 85-percent of those hours flown in combat. While there are many UAS providers and subsystems suppliers, GA-ASI provides among the most predominant and effective unmanned aircraft currently in-theatre.

“Predator’s extensive intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and combat capabilities, coupled with its long endurance – 40-plus hours for the MQ-1 and 30-plus hours for the Predator B – provide persistent situational awareness and make these unmanned systems attractive alternatives to their manned counterparts,” says Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Lindsay Voss. “Add to this that medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAS are procured and operated at a fraction of the cost of manned ISR and fighter aircraft and it is easy to see why the DoD has made UAS acquisition a key priority.”

As of September 2008, GA-ASI has produced more than 300 Predator-series aircraft including the venerable Predator A, its larger cousin Predator B, also known by the U.S. Air Force as MQ-9 Reaper, and the Army’s Sky Warrior based on the Predator and I-GNAT ER platforms.

GA-ASI is more than just an unmanned aircraft system supplier. Unlike competitors who often focus solely on the aircraft with little regard given to the other systems that are imperative to the platform’s capabilities, GA-ASI focuses on the complete system. The company not only designs, manufactures and sells UASs, but also manufactures ground control stations (GCSs), Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) and sensor systems, and provides field operations support for customer aircraft.

Ground control stations are essential components of the system, and GA-ASI offers a whole range of stations – Standard GCS, Multi-Aircraft Control (MAC) GCS, High Mobility Ground Control Station (HMGCS), Portable Ground Control Station (PGCS), Multi-Function Workstation (MFW), Remote Video Receiver (RVT), and Rover. GA-ASI has also developed the Advanced Cockpit GCS which has controlled Predator-series aircraft in flight.

The importance of UAS operation is to provide real-time, all-weather imaging and surveillance to the war fighter day or night, which is possible using GA-ASI’s Lynx radar systems. The Lynx SAR/GMTI is deployed on both manned and unmanned aircraft including the MQ-9 Reaper, Sky Warrior Alpha, and King Air 350. It has also been flown and tested on the EH-60 Black Hawk and RQ-8A Fire Scout, In July 2008, GA-ASI demonstrated its Lynx II radar at the U.S. Yuma Army Proving Grounds, where the system exceeded requirements for the service’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) radar program.

“The demand for UAS capabilities is far from peaking,” stresses Voss. “With military commanders requesting increased procurement of MQ-1 and MQ-9 aircraft, and soldiers wanting the real-time streaming video and Lynx SAR images that these unmanned aircraft provide, GA-ASI continues to lead the UAS revolution, providing systems that are in ever increasing demand.”

Finally, there are the support services for customers – training, technical data services, field service support at multiple locations and depot level repair – where GA-ASI again excels. With the increased deployment of unmanned aircraft, the demand for trained and certified operators has increased. GA-ASI ensures that its aircraft are flown by highly skilled pilots, trained through both classroom instruction and flight simulation.

For these cumulative achievements in leadership and innovation, Frost & Sullivan is proud to present GA-ASI with the 2008 Company of the Year Award in the U.S. unmanned aircraft systems market.

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