Predator B variant eyed for European use

June 27, 2013 at 4:35 PM

SAN DIEGO, June 27 (UPI) -- A U.S. maker of remotely piloted aircraft is to develop a drone that is compliant with NATO and European airworthiness standards.

The aircraft, to be independently developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., will be a variant of its Predator B.

"Predator B is the most cost-effective and best-valued RPA in its class and continues to draw significant interest from our NATO allies," said Neal Blue, chairman and chief executive officer of GA-ASI. "It is imperative that we ensure airworthiness certification of Predator B both at home and abroad as coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan and nations transition mission focus to protection of the homeland and other civil uses."

GA-ASI noted it has expanded its relationship with RUAG Aerospace Services GmbH of Germany for increased collaboration for UAV airworthiness certification.

The two teamed previously to offer the Predator B to Germany.

The Predator B is a long-endurance, medium-high-altitude aircraft that can be used for surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting missions. It is currently used by the U.S. Air Force, Britain's Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force.

Recent market studies indicate growing European interest in unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial use.

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