Predator C Avenger Flies With MS-177 Long-Range Sensor

An aerial view of General Atomics P46 Predator 'C', "Avenger" over the high deserts of Southern California. The latest generation Predator is a jet-powered remotely-piloted vehicle (RPV) that is nearly twice the size of its predecessor. Featuring an internal weapons bay, retractable gear, a blended wing design, top-mounted intake and shielded exhaust, the stealthy airframe can cruise at 50,000 feet and can perform multiple tasks from reconnaisance to attack roles.

An aerial view of General Atomics P46 Predator 'C', "Avenger" over the high deserts of Southern California. The latest generation Predator is a jet-powered remotely-piloted vehicle (RPV) that is nearly twice the size of its predecessor. Featuring an internal weapons bay, retractable gear, a blended wing design, top-mounted intake and shielded exhaust, the stealthy airframe can cruise at 50,000 feet and can perform multiple tasks from reconnaisance to attack roles.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced the successful flight tests of Predator® C Avenger®, equipped with a MS-177 Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor manufactured by UTC Aerospace Systems.

MS-177, an advanced sensor in UTC’s SYERS family of sensors, is a key component that supports GA-ASI’s effort to equip Avenger with a long-range imaging capability. MS-177 is more technically advanced than the SYERS 2 flying on U-2 aircraft and also is significantly more affordable to manufacture. The sensor is a 7-band multi-spectral system that can be upgraded to a 10-band system to enhance target detection for maritime applications.

“Avenger and MS-177 deliver a game-changing capability that dramatically alters the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance [ISR] landscape,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “A MS-177-equipped Avenger provides a strategic ISR capability at a fraction of the cost of other ISR collecting platforms, offering high-resolution imagery from significant standoff ranges, thereby expanding the situational awareness of the warfighter greatly.”

During government-funded testing, Avenger demonstrated its ability to collect high-resolution imagery of land-based and littoral objects with the MS-177 sensor at altitudes above 37,000 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL). A total of seven test flights occurred between January and February 2016 at Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, Calif.

GA-ASI plans to begin flight testing of an Improved Avenger in October 2016, which will further enhance the operational capabilities of the MS-177. With an increased wingspan of 76 feet, Improved Avenger will extend the aircraft’s already impressive endurance from 15 hours to 20 hours, thus increasing the utility of MS-177 over a longer period of time. Improved Avenger will provide an optimal balance of long loiter ISR and precision-strike capability, supporting a wide array of sensors and weapons payloads to perform high-speed, long-endurance, multi-mission ISR and ground support missions.