Avenger UAV makes initial flight
POWAY, Calif. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) announced that it has completed the initial flight of its Avenger Extended Range (ER) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), an extended-range version of its multimission jet-powered Predator C Avenger craft, which has accumulated over 13,000 flight hours to date. GA-ASI says that the flight took place on October 27th at the company's Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, California.
The Avenger ER extends the legacy Avenger's 15-hour flight endurance to 20 hours, as it carries over a ton of additional fuel and has an increased wingspan of 76 feet. The enhanced UAV is meant to provide both long-loiter intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and precision-strike capability and is designed to support a wide array of sensors and weapons payloads to perform ISR and ground-support missions. The Avenger ER, in the same way as its predecessor, features avionics based upon the Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, is capable of flying at over 400 KTAS [knots true airspeed], and is equipped to carry such payloads as the all-weather Lynx multimode radar, the MS-177 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, and the 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). Avenger received a FAA-issued Experimental Certificate (EC) in 2016, which allows the UAV to operate in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS).