General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA‑ASI) has announced that it has set a new endurance record with its Avenger Extended Range (ER) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). The next-generation Avenger ER flew 23.4 continuous hours in a representative Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) configuration while carrying out a simulated reconnaissance mission. This exceeded the 20 hour flight test goal and reflects a 10 hour improvement over the baseline Predator C Avenger aircraft. Combined, the Avenger and the Avenger ER have accumulated over 20,000 flight hours.
“Avenger ER continues to meet and exceed its development goals,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “By setting this new high endurance mark, we have demonstrated the tremendous capability of this aircraft to our customers.”
The Avenger platform is also being used as a surrogate for GA-ASI’s proposed MQ-25 solution, including early ground and flight test of the deck handling system, mission specific hardware and software, and all flight and mission data links and communications. Using Avenger as an MQ-25 surrogate ahead of contract award significantly reduces schedule for getting the MQ-25 system operating quickly for the U.S. Navy.
With an increased wingspan of 76 feet, Avenger ER extends the legacy Avenger’s already impressive endurance. The RPA provides an optimal balance of long-loiter ISR and precision-strike capability, supporting a wide array of sensors and weapons payloads to perform ISR and ground support missions. There are several other improvements on the Avenger ER which include increasing the maximum gross takeoff weight (MGTOW) to 19,500 pounds using a co-cured composite center wing and heavyweight landing gear as well as integrating a game changing dual redundant, light weight brake control capability using a GA-ASI developed lightweight Hybrid Linear anti-lock brake system. Like the legacy Avenger, Avenger ER features avionics based upon the combat-proven Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, has 3,000-pound payload bay, and is capable of flying at over 400 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS). The Avenger fleet is designed to carry payloads such as the all-weather GA-ASI Lynx Multi-mode Radar and the MS-177 Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor.