General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) is offering a new export version of the Predator unmanned aerial system. The export of the standard RQ-1 Predator system has been limited by U.S. Government export restrictions, to select NATO members and allied nations. To meet the export potential of the system GA-ASI has recently expanded its aircraft portfolio to offer an export version of the Predator UAS – designated Predator XP. Offering comparable ISR capabilities as the standard Predator, the new ‘XP has been licensed by the U.S. Government to be proposed for sale to a broader customer base, including countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
One of the potential markets for the system is the gulf states. At the IDEX 2011 exhibition GA-ASI embarked on a marketing campaign to promote the new system in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). GA-ASI The company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with International Golden Group (IGG), a UAE based supplier of integrated defense systems, to offer the Predator to meet the surveillance needs of the Emirates.
Predator XP exhibits the same physical dimensions, altitude, speed, and long endurance (up to 40 hours) as the original RQ-1 unarmed Predator aircraft flown by the U.S. Air Force since the early 1990s. Battle-proven since its first combat flight in the Balkans in 1995, Predator aircraft have amassed over one million flight hours to date. Equipped with the same ISR capabilities employed on the RQ-1, Predator XP can be integrated with multiple exportable sensors, including Electro-Optical Infrared (EO/IR) payloads and GA-ASI’s Lynx multi-mode Synthetic Apperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) sensor.