General Atomics‘ aeronautical systems business flew its Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Big Wing unmanned aerial vehicle for 37 hours non-stop as part of a follow-on endurance flight test program.
The test simulated an operational mission to check the modified UAV’s flight time and its launch, operational altitude climb, loiter and reconnaissance maneuvering functions, General Atomics said Wednesday.
Results indicated that the UAV can boost flight time by more than 10 hours and stay in the air and carry out functions for 37 hours without any incident, the company added.
The Predator B Big Wing is a variant of the Predator B remotely piloted aircraft that General Atomics developed using internal funds for research and development initiatives.
David Alexander, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. aircraft systems president, said the company continuously works to enhance the Predator B’s endurance to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to U.S. and coalition forces.
This test is a continuation of the endurance test flight conducted in February at General Atomics’ Gray Butte Flight Operations in California, with another scheduled flight and endurance expansion test to follow.