General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), today announced that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected the Certifiable PREDATOR B (CPB) RPA system, with some specific modifications, to fulfill the country’s future armed Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) requirements.
“GA-ASI is proud to offer CPB, the next-generation PREDATOR B, to the MoD to satisfy its emerging requirements for a REAPER replacement certified so that it will be capable, subject to developments in regulatory framework, to operate within unsegregated controlled airspace,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “Featuring enhanced safety and reliability systems, CPB will meet European airworthiness certification standards.”
The UK MoD’s selection of CPB follows the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review and the Prime Minister’s announcement of the government’s intention to replace PREDATOR B/MQ-9 REAPER.
CPB has been down-selected as the only viable option capable of meeting the UK PROTECTOR programme’s key user requirements, including operations in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace, according to GA-ASI. The UK’s CPB procurement will occur through a hybrid Foreign Military Sales/Direct Commercial Sale agreement with the US government. GA-ASI is undertaking an Independent Research and Development (IRAD) effort to design, develop, and produce CPB, a variant of its PREDATOR B RPA that is fully compliant with NATO’s UAV System Airworthiness Requirements (STANAG 4671).
Construction of CPB has begun, with fuselage integration currently underway, followed by wings and tails integration planned for late summer 2016. Flight testing of the CPB airframe is scheduled for late 2016.