FAA Certifies General Atomics’ Predator C

The FAA has issued General Atomics Aeronautical Systems jet-powered Predator C an experimental certificate (EC), allowing the remotely piloted aircraft to conduct routine operations in the US National Airspace System, the company announced July 11. With avionics derived from the combat-proven Predator B, which the Air Force refers to as the MQ-9 Reaper, the C model, which General Atomics calls the Avenger, is designed to perform high-speed, long-endurance missions over land and sea, the company said from the Farnborough International Airshow in the United Kingdom. It can support a wide range of sensors and weapons up to a 2,000-pound joint direct attack munition, with a mission endurance of 15 hours. GA said it plans to start flight testing an extended-range version of the Predator C, with an expected 20-hour mission endurance, in September.