The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper RPA has successfully completed 106 full-stop Automatic Takeoff and Landing Capability (ATLC) landings, a first for the multi-mission aircraft. The milestone was first achieved with four ATLC landings on June 27 at the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.
“We are pleased that all landings have been textbook in execution with no issues,” said Frank Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI. “The addition of ATLC will greatly reduce the land incident rate and the training expenditures for our customers.”
During the landings, the aircraft tracked the centerline, decelerated smoothly, and applied reverse thrust and full brakes at the appropriate ground speeds to a complete stop.
Envelope expansion for takeoffs and landings at higher wind limits, maximum aircraft gross weight, differential GPS (dGPS) enhancements, and terrain avoidance with adjustable glideslope has now begun.
The design of the ATLC system was leveraged directly from the highly successful and proven Automatic Takeoff and Landing System (ATLS) developed by GA-ASI for its Gray Eagle® unmanned aircraft system, which has reached a record of 10,000-plus successful automatic takeoff and landings.
A technologically advanced derivative of the combat-proven Predator, the multi-mission Predator B provides essential situational awareness for warfighters, excelling in combat missions focusing on Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), precision strike on time-sensitive targets, close air support, laser designation and illumination, signals intelligence, forward air control, convoy protection, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection, and bomb damage assessment.