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General Atomics releases new image of its next-generation combat drone

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General Atomics’ Aeronautical Systems division, or GS-ASI, has released a new rendering of its stealthy, next-generation unmanned aircraft system.

The GA-ASI released a new rendering of the new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike unmanned air vehicle (UAV)’s design on its social media page on Friday.

The company Twitter post states: “Our robust digital engineering and advanced manufacturing practices deliver affordable dominant weapon systems to the warfighter with the speed and lethality required to maintain overmatch.”

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According to open sources, the new flying-wing unmanned aircraft is designing as a proposed replacement of the U.S. Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft.

The design of the new concept incorporated holistic signature reduction techniques across RF, IR, visual, and acoustic domains. The long, thin flying-wing design of the new combat drone also appears to have all areas of stealth technology, from the aircraft’s air inlets.

Photo by Dylan Mayasov

As the MQ-9 Reaper, it is a remotely piloted medium-altitude, long endurance aircraft designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), and attack missions.

The turboprop-powered, multi-mission MQ-9 was developed with GA-ASI funding and first flown in 2001. MQ-9A was designated “Reaper” by the U.S. and Royal Air Force, but has become the widely used name for any Predator B equipped with weapons.

Featuring unmatched operational flexibility, MQ-9A has an endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS, can operate up to 50,000 feet, and has a 3,850 pound (1746 kilogram) payload capacity that includes 3,000 pounds (1361 kilograms) of external stores. The aircraft carries 500% more payload and has nine times the horsepower. It provides a long-endurance, persistent surveillance/strike capability for the war fighter.

The GA-ASI, an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator series and the Lynx Multi-mode Radar.

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