HC 772 Defence CommitteeWritten evidence from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) & General Atomics Aeronautical Systems United Kingdom Limited (GA-UK)


Established in 1993 and based in California, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is a leading designer and manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS)—systems in service with agencies and air arms across the world. GA-ASI’s current family of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), comprising Predator® A, Predator XP, Predator B Reaper, Predator C Avenger® and Gray Eagle®, has accrued over 2.3 million flight hours, 90% under combat conditions. However, these RPA are but one facet, albeit the most easily identified, of a complex, end-to-end system where each element contributes to delivery of a persistent surveillance and potential strike capability.

Reference to RPA as “drones” has a pejorative connotation that belies their proven beneficial role in humanitarian crises. RPA make a significant contribution not only to safer military operations for ground forces, but also to reducing the cost of natural disasters in both human and materiel terms. Predator B has been used in the US with considerable success to provide relief from floods, forest fires and hurricanes. Such activity underlines the flexibility, utility and importantly the potential of unmanned systems. Their effectiveness derives from a combination of the RPA’s ability to remain airborne for periods far beyond the endurance of conventional manned aircraft and also from its suite of on-board equipment, including electro-optical/infrared sensors and multi-function radars (which embody inter alia synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator modes), providing a genuine all-weather capability.

Looking to the future, the UK has the potential to expand further its current Predator B Reaper capability and utility. By introducing various enhancements, including podded systems and extended endurance, the range of missions for both military and civilian applications could be expanded significantly. This would provide opportunities for the UK’s world-class aerospace industry to collaborate more closely with GA-ASI and potentially access wider markets, eg through the provision of a flexible maritime surveillance capability and possibly the integration of self-protection measures which could enable operations in less benign environments than hitherto. Operations in more demanding environments might also be facilitated by adoption, in time, of a possible Avenger/Reaper fleet mix.

Further development of civilian applications will depend to a large extent on certifying RPA to operate in controlled airspace; thus the development of a Type Certifiable Reaper is currently one of GA-ASI’s highest priorities. However, the precise specifications to enable RPA to conform to regulatory requirements governing full access to airspace are not yet mature. This pan-European problem is arguably the main area that currently constrains the expansion of RPA use and the full realisation of their undoubted potential.


1. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), in conjunction with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems United Kingdom Ltd (GA-UK), values the opportunity to contribute to the Defence Select Committee’s investigation into the UK’s current and future use of Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS), announced on 11 July 2013.1 This paper of written evidence provides detailed background on GA-ASI before addressing the specific issues that, in accordance with the July announcement, the Committee wishes to examine. The opinions herein are those of GA-ASI and GA-UK alone and should not be taken to imply support from any other agency.


2. Based in California, GA-ASI is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable, long-endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), including Predator® A, Predator B, Gray Eagle®, and Predator C Avenger®. These RPA are equipped with integrated sensor and weapon systems required to deliver persistent surveillance and rapid strike capabilities. To conform to the constraints of the Missile Technology Control Regime, the recently developed and more widely-exportable Predator XP is limited to the provision of surveillance capabilities. Detailed information on the capabilities of these RPA, together with enabling systems, is at Annex A; a glossary of terms is at Annex B.

3. Established in 1993 as an affiliate of General Atomics, GA-ASI also manufactures a variety of Ground Control Stations (GCSs) and provides pilot training and support services for RPA field operations. GA-ASI has produced more than 580 RPA and over 270 GCSs. These RPA have achieved more than 2.3 million flight hours—some 90% in combat operations—and in 2012 alone flew more than 431,000 hours.

4. GA-ASI provides the RAF’s current Predator B/Reaper capability; six air vehicles have been delivered thus far together with six mobile GCSs. To date UK industry has not benefitted from this contract primarily because the Reaper capability was procured off-the-shelf as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR). However, recognising the world-class capabilities offered by the UK aerospace industry, GA-ASI continues to explore relationships with UK organisations, not least through the office of GA-UK, established in 2010.

5. UK industry has the potential to add value to GA-ASI’s products and thereby access a wide market. The highly successful Sovereign Payload Capability Demonstration (SPCD), a private venture in conjunction with Selex Galileo (now Selex ES) in the US in May 2012, is tangible evidence of this approach. It demonstrated the feasibility of integrating a UK system, the Seaspray 7500E multi-mode radar, onto a Predator B platform, paving the way for Reaper customers world-wide to develop a route to an independent operational capability. More recently GA-ASI began working with MBDA on the integration of Dual Mode Brimstone onto a Predator B under the umbrella of the US Air Force (USAF) Big Safari organisation. Again this involves private venture money or, in US terminology, IRAD (Internal Research and Development) funding.

6. GA-ASI also recognises the strength of the UK’s service support sector and has a close relationship with Cobham Aviation Services. GA-ASI’s aspiration is eventually to sub-contract support through Cobham not only for UK operations at RAF Waddington but also on a wider, opportunity basis.

Nomenclature and Definitions

7. GA-ASI has spent more than 20 years developing RPAS, sometimes referred to as UAS2 (Unmanned Air Systems), and accepts that customers will use terminology appropriate to their own national or agency environment. Implicit in the “systems” terminology is the concept of a complex, end-to-end operation within which the RPA, a specific embodiment of a UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicle), is but one element, albeit the most obviously identifiable. For the purposes of this paper RPA and UAV can be considered as one and the same (as indeed can RPAS and UAS), albeit hereinafter the terms RPA and RPAS are used almost exclusively. It is relevant here that RPA are referred to colloquially by the press and the general public as “drones”, terminology that has acquired pejorative connotations and doubtless contributes to the RAF preferring the less emotive RPA/RPAS terminology.

8. A large and sophisticated RPAS such as the Reaper system comprises a number of interdependent elements, each of which contributes towards overall system effectiveness. The air vehicle itself is controlled via a GCS using a two-way data link and is equipped with a variety of on-board mission systems appropriate to its role, eg ISTAR3 or the application of firepower. System functionality is enabled by terrestrial (line-of-sight) and satellite (beyond line-of-sight) communications. The successful integration of all these various aspects is critical to mission accomplishment; but no matter how sophisticated and potentially effective the system, realising its full potential remains a human function.

9. Automation and autonomy can contribute much to RPAS operations. Automation can be thought of as following a set of prescribed rules while autonomy describes various levels of self-determination through bounded on-board decision-making. In relatively simple manifestations, eg automatic take-off and landing, automation reduces pilot workload and hence the chance of human error. Increased sophistication in terms of autonomy could, in time, enable more complex and demanding missions, including anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) and automatic target recognition and prosecution. However, for the period to 2020 covered by this Inquiry, the requirement for direct human control is likely to remain.

Current RPAS Utility and Dispersal

10. The latest Predator series RPA offer significant payload capacity embodying a “plug-and-play” approach. Together with modular systems architecture, this maximises operational versatility and hence provides the capability to support an expanding array of military and civil missions. In the military environment RPA increase situational awareness for commanders and ground troops, thereby contributing to safer military operations, not least by effectively mitigating threats, and execute the “dull, dirty and dangerous” missions without putting aircrew at risk. Moreover, by virtue of their inherent flexibility, RPAS can be, and are, used increasingly in a variety of civilian roles. While military and civilian applications are discussed below, comments on combat operations—more properly the province of RPAS operators—are restricted largely to generalisations.

11. Combat Operations. Predator series RPAS have operated in combat theatres since the Bosnia conflict in the mid-1990s. The US Department of Defense (DoD) directive to increase Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) patrols (or “orbits”4) in the Afghanistan theatre from over 40 to 65 subsequently underlined the continuing utility of the USAF RPAS inventory. The RPA’s ability to remain airborne for nearly 40 hours without refuelling provides the persistent ISR essential to the collection of extensive data on adversary activities. For the soldier on the ground RPA can transmit images directly to a portable device and also provide a time-sensitive strike capability to counter fleeting threats. Additional applications include convoy protection, where the use of ISR sensors to identify IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) is invaluable.

12. Border Patrol. Since 2005 the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has operated a growing number of Predator Bs. During 2011 this fleet contributed to the capture of some 7,600 lb of illegal drugs and the apprehension of 467 individuals participating in illegal activities.

13. Maritime Surveillance. To safeguard US maritime approaches and patrol drug transit zones, DHS operates Guardian, a Predator B optimised for long-range maritime surveillance. Boosting the US’s overall maritime domain awareness, these RPA include enhancements to avionics, communications and sensor capabilities.

14. Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief. The use of RPAS in a wide range of humanitarian and disaster relief roles is less well understood than the military and agency activities outlined above. The remainder of this section therefore goes into some detail in describing these civilian roles.

15. Hurricane Relief. In September 2008 DHS deployed a Predator B to support disaster recovery and first responder efforts for Hurricane Gustav—a new innovation in terms of disaster response. Patrolling over Louisiana, it provided real time video of damaged oil terminals, levees, roads and bridges as well as real time Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor imagery and Lynx multi-mode radar imagery of coastal damage. Identifying these post-event trouble spots provided real time situational awareness to first responders, allowing them to prioritise employment of government resources. The effectiveness of this massive response effort, involving well over 1,200 personnel—federal, state and local officials as well as response teams—was enhanced by widely disseminated Predator B video, provided by secure internet feed. That same year a DHS Predator B also supported Hurricane Hanna relief efforts, flying a 12-hour mission over Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina to baseline critical infrastructure before, and assess damage after, the hurricane’s landfall.

16. Flood Relief. In April 2009 DHS diverted a Predator B from its border patrol mission to North Dakota’s Red River Valley to monitor and assess heavy flooding and severe storm damage. This activity (nearly 100 hours over 11 missions) marked the first US employment of an RPA to help mitigate the effects of large-scale flooding. Predator B’s EO/IR and Lynx radar systems provided data vital for planning and executing North Dakota’s flood response efforts, pinpointing ice floes and providing time-lapse imagery that tracked flood patterns, the speed of floodwaters, and anticipated danger to levees, bridges, people and property. This imagery proved pivotal for coordinating the rapid and effective humanitarian actions of local, state and federal response groups. Subsequently, during the 2011 Red River flood response, DHS collected 1,778 nautical miles of Predator B Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery in 22 days, marking the single most extensive SAR collection effort ever achieved by the agency. Lynx imagery provided wide-area, high-resolution maps which, as in North Dakota, proved key to the effectiveness of response groups.

17. Firefighting Relief. NASA’s Predator B (Ikhana) is equipped with a specialised infrared pod that maps and displays the movement of a fire’s hotspots, providing real time data to firefighters on the ground. Ikhana was used extensively to aid local firefighters in defending against a wildfire that devastated Southern California in 2007 and supported firefighters again in 2011 during the largest wildfire in Arizona state history. In addition, DHS’s Predator B provided streaming video and Lynx SAR mapping of areas affected by the fires to the US Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service and other agencies. Lynx imagery, which remained unaffected by smoke or cloud cover, helped firefighters coordinate resources to monitor, predict and effectively control the blaze. Most recently, and in the same vein, Predators from the California National Guard contributed significantly to efforts to contain a major wildfire (one of California’s largest on record) that began in mid-August 2013, threatening Yosemite National Park.

18. Earthquake Relief. In 2012 a USAF Reaper helped with mock search and rescue efforts after a simulated earthquake struck southern California, demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to integrate with civilian disaster relief agency efforts. This exercise followed in the wake of a powerful earthquake that shook Haiti in 2010, where USAF RPA were critical in helping first responders locate fires and find survivors.

Lessons Learned from Operations in Afghanistan

19. The RAF is best placed to comment on lessons learned from UK operations in Afghanistan.

Tomorrow’s PotentialAdditional UK Capabilities

20. In considering what capabilities the UK should seek to develop to 2020, this section identifies possibilities for building on the capabilities offered by its current Reaper RPAS and reinforces the mutual benefits that could derive from closer US/UK industrial collaboration.

21. Certification and Airspace Integration for Wider Employment. The RAF’s Reaper fleet was procured solely for use in the Afghanistan theatre. To exploit its potential to the full in the post-Afghanistan era would require unfettered access to non-segregated airspace. This requires type certification, together with the ability to comply with regulations that are still evolving. GA-ASI is focused on securing Reaper type certification in compliance with UK/NATO/European standards to enable flight in non-segregated UK airspace and has initiated an IRAD programme to develop a Predator B variant, fully compliant with the type certification requirements of the UK, USA and anticipated NATO customers. GA-ASI is already working with MoD, Cobham and others to ensure compliance with UK Defence Standards (DEFSTANs) and NATO Standardisation Agreements (STANAGs). A sense and avoid (SAA)5 capability—one capable of interoperating with other airspace users, detecting airborne vehicles not equipped with transponders and facilitating collision avoidance—is an essential prerequisite here. GA-ASI is therefore developing a proof-of-concept SAA system under IRAD funding. Flight tests with a prototype Due Regard Radar (DRR) are already underway and, in related developments last year, GA-ASI successfully demonstrated an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)-based surveillance system aboard a DHS Predator B. Both ADS-B and DRR are central to the maturation of Predator B’s SAA architecture.

22. Maritime Surveillance. Building on the 2012 SPCD (cf para 5 above), the UK could equip Reaper with the Selex ES Seaspray 7500E multi-mode radar to provide an effective maritime surveillance system with potential further to expand the capability through additional podded systems. Such a solution would also confer greater operational flexibility since the Seaspray radar can be fitted/removed in a matter of hours. It is relevant to this potential enhancement, and indeed to other roles, that GA-ASI is developing field-retrofittable wings with internal fuel tanks that extend Predator B endurance by some 56%, to 42 hours.

23. Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD). UK experience of combat operations with large RPA is limited to Afghanistan’s relatively benign environment, but future combat zones may prove more demanding. Pending development of an indigenous stealthy UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) capability, there may be benefit in the UK considering an interim solution to RPAS operations in more demanding scenarios. Predator C Avenger offers considerable advantages in this respect. It utilises the same infrastructure as Reaper (a common GCS and communications system) and shares many of the same on-board systems. This means Avenger is not significantly more costly than Reaper, suggesting that a fleet mix could be an affordable option. Importantly, Avenger also offers the potential to leverage UK aerospace industry expertise and gain operational experience to inform the UK’s stealthy UCAV programme. It could be fitted with UK systems/sensors and its stealth characteristics could be enhanced by UK signature reduction technologies. As with Reaper, but to a significantly greater degree, Avenger’s potential for operations in non-benign environments could be augmented by integrating self-protection enhancements, eg those at paras 24d, 24e and 24f below.

24. Podded Capability Expansion Possibilities. Potential exists to expand progressively the RAF’s Reaper capability through the integration of role-specific external pods—an area that offers significant opportunities for UK industry. Future “add-on” capabilities could possibly include:

(a)Chemical and biological detection.

(b)Search and rescue, including deployment of raft and life-saving equipment.

(c)Enhanced Electronic Support Measures (ESM).6

(d)Radar jamming.7

(e)Specific self-protection elements.

(f)Stand-off miniature air-launched decoys.

(g)Submarine detection and tracking.

(h)Strategic/long-range electro-optical camera (UTC/Goodrich DB-110).

Constraints on RPAS use

25. The primary constraint on RPAS use is lack of access to non-segregated airspace. In light of GA-ASI’s privately funded initiative to develop a Type Certifiable Predator B and an SAA system, this section provides an overview of current airspace access procedures for Predator B in the US and comments on the UK and European positions in this respect.

26. Access to US National Airspace (NAS). In the US, Certificates of Authorisation (COAs) are required for RPA to fly in NAS and are issued to public-use agencies8 authorising use of defined airspace for a specified time with ATC providing positive separation or, pending the certification of an SAA system, a “chase” aircraft. DHS and the US military operate in NAS in compliance with FAA regulations using the COA process. DHS works with the FAA to define the RPA’s flight path, with the FAA then securing the necessary airspace and subsequently issuing COAs as required. Federal agencies plan to increase future use of RPA and to accomplish this, the President and Congress directed the FAA in 2012 to develop a plan for the safe integration of civil RPA into NAS no later than September 2015.

27. Access to UK and European Airspace. Whilst the US has adopted a pragmatic approach to opening up NAS for RPAS use, there seems to be a more confusing picture in Europe. In the US, the FAA is the sole organisation responsible for setting the regulations for, and providing services in, civilian airspace, whereas in Europe numerous agencies and organisations can legitimately claim to have a stake, including EASA,9 EUROCONTROL,10 national CAAs (Civil Aviation Authorities) and ANSPs.11 Until regulations governing operations are clarified and ideally coordinated across the UK and Europe, it will prove difficult for RPAS to realise their full potential. The European RPAS roadmap12 is a first step in this respect.

Ethical and Legal Issues

28. GA-ASI does not feel it appropriate to comment on ethical and legal issues; it is more properly a matter for RPAS operators, in this case the MoD/RAF.


29. It is recommended that consideration be given to:

(a)Providing RAF Reapers with a maritime capability by incorporating the SeaSpray 7500E multi-mode radar.

(b)Investigating the benefits and cost effectiveness of developing an RAF Avenger/Reaper force mix.

(c)Clarifying, simplifying and accelerating the development of a regulatory framework to facilitate RPAS access to non-segregated airspace.

Annex A


A1. Over the past two decades GA-ASI has developed a series of innovative and versatile long-endurance RPAS. Current systems embody a suite of sensors including Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) cameras and the Lynx multi-mode radar. Equipped with laser illumination/designation capabilities, the EO/IR cameras stream high-definition colour and infrared video via a communications data link simultaneously to both the GCS and ground forces. These capabilities underwrite the current use and deployment of the GA-ASI systems described below.

A2. Predator. Predator (referred to as Predator A to distinguish it from its immediate successor, Predator B) is the most combat-proven RPA in the world, capable of a variety of combat missions, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), targeting, forward air control, laser designation, precision strike and bomb damage assessment. First flown in 1994, Predator has accumulated almost 1.4 million flight hours, over 90% in combat operations. It was the first RPA to be weaponised and has the highest mission capable rate of any aircraft in the US Air Force (USAF) inventory. It is a testament to the air vehicle’s reliability and durability that USAF Predator #107 has exceeded over 20,000 flight hours13 to date. Predator is also operational with the US Navy and the Italian Air Force. Details of Predator A capabilities are outlined in Table 1 below:

Table 1


Maximum Gross Take-off Weight

1043 kg (2,300 lb)

Wing Span

17m (55 ft)

Maximum Endurance

40 hr

Maximum Altitude

7620m (25,000 ft)

Maximum Air Speed

120 KTAS

Payload Capacity (Internal)

204 kg (450 lb)

Payload Capacity (External)

136 kg (300 lb)

Number Produced (to date)


A3. Predator XP. Predator XP is a recently developed and improved variant of the Predator with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as its first customer. Predator XP’s characteristics and performance specifications closely mirror those of Predator A. However, the driving factor in its design was strict compliance with the Missile Technology Control Regime; it provides neither external payload capacity nor weapons capability, thereby enabling its export to a wider international market than other GA-ASI RPAS.

A4. Predator B (aka MQ-9 Reaper and Guardian). A mature system, Predator B has surpassed 600,000 flight hours. Developed using company funding as the successor to the original Predator, Predator B is almost five times the maximum gross takeoff weight of Predator A and incorporates inter alia advanced EO/IR, Lynx multi-mode radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), signals intelligence and multiple weapon options. Predator B is engineered to exceed manned aircraft reliability standards and, as with all GA-ASI’s currently manufactured RPA, is equipped with triple redundant avionics and dual redundant flight control surfaces. It can be equipped with a multi-mode maritime radar for long-range maritime surveillance in the Guardian configuration or as a role fit for Reaper. Predator B’s payload can be spread across seven external stations. The USAF’s Predator B has a mission capable rate exceeding 90%, second only to Predator. Predator B series aircraft have been acquired by the RAF, USAF, US Navy, US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), NASA and the Italian Air Force. The French Air Force has also recently announced plans to procure Predator B. The Guardian configuration includes inter alia the addition of additional VHF radios, a podded 360° multi-mode maritime surface search radar, and an automatic identification system (AIS).14

Table 2


Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight

4763 kg (10,500 lb)

Wing Span

20m (66 ft)

Maximum Endurance

30 hr

Maximum Altitude

15240m (50,000 ft)

Maximum Air Speed

240 KTAS

Payload Capacity (Internal)

363 kg (800 lb)

Payload Capacity (External)

1678 kg (3,700 lb)

Number Produced (to date)


A5. Gray Eagle. Gray Eagle is an advanced derivative of the combat-proven Predator. Operational with the US Army, it provides a reliable, affordable, low-risk, next-generation tactical RPA solution for persistent Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) as well as strike operations. Controlled directly by Army field commanders, and equipped with a proven Automatic Take-off and Landing System (ATLS),15 Gray Eagle’s dedicated mission set includes wide-area ISR, convoy protection, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection and defeat, close air support, communications relay and weapons delivery missions. Flight testing of Improved Gray Eagle (IGE) has already begun. IGE will provide a 50% increase in internal fuel together with a centreline hardpoint capable of carrying either a 500lb fuel tank or an additional sensor.

Table 3


Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight

1633 kg (3,600 lb)

Wing Span

17m (56 ft)

Maximum Endurance

30 hr

Maximum Altitude

8839m (29,000 ft)

Maximum Air Speed

150 KTAS

Payload Capacity (Internal)

204 kg (425 lb)

Payload Capacity (External)

522 kg (1,150 lb)

Number Produced (to date)


Flight Hours (to date)


A6. Predator C Avenger. Developed as an internally-funded programme, the jet-powered Predator C Avenger combines reduced radar signature, increased speed and long-endurance for wide-area surveillance and time-sensitive, precision strike missions. It has an internal weapons bay and retractable EO/IR sensor and boasts triple redundant avionics and dual redundant flight control surfaces. Importantly, it can be controlled from the same GCS as both Predator and Reaper and shares a significant number of avionics systems with Predator B.

Table 4


Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight

7167 kg (15,800lb)

Wing Span

20.11m (66 ft)

Maximum Endurance

18 hr

Maximum Altitude

15240m (50,000 ft)

Maximum Air Speed

400 KTAS (Standard Dash 350 KTAS)

Payload Capacity (Internal)

1588 kg (3,500 lb)

Payload Capacity (External)

1361 kg (3,000 lb)

A7. Sea Avenger. Remotely operated, Sea Avenger is under development and has been designed for aircraft carrier operations in order to provide the US Navy with organic, long-endurance ISR and time-sensitive strike capabilities. The design, which has evolved from the land-based Predator C Avenger, includes a highly fuel-efficient engine, retractable EO/IR sensor, internal payload space for auxiliary fuel, retractable air refuelling probe, folding wings and deck tie-downs. Sea Avenger’s structure is strengthened for catapult launch and arrestor cable landing operations, and is equipped with reinforced landing gear, spoilers and a tail hook. Operationally proven Predator-series mission systems are transferrable to Sea Avenger and can accelerate its readiness for carrier deployment. Such systems include a federated sensor suite, redundant avionics, voice/data communications, automatic take-off and landing and a mature stores management system.

A8. Ground Control Stations (GCSs). Over the past twenty years, GA-ASI has produced more than 270 GCSs. Featuring high mobility and portability, these stations allow direct, real time control of Predator/Gray Eagle-series RPA and may be located on land, aircraft or ship. The GCSs enable control of RPA sensors and payloads, while also supporting analysis and dissemination of collected ISR data. GA-ASI’s next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS provides additional features designed to enhance situational awareness and improve GCS operator efficiency.

A9. Lynx Multi-mode Radar. The Lynx multi-mode radar is a state-of-the-art, lightweight, high-performance, multi-function radar that operates in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) modes on RPA and manned aircraft throughout the world. The all-weather Lynx provides photographic quality images through clouds, rain, dust, smoke and fog, in daylight or total darkness, for detecting time-sensitive targets and changes on the ground that may be undetectable by EO/IR sensors. Lynx’s long-range and wide-area surveillance capabilities include high-resolution SAR imagery at slant ranges beyond effective EO/IR ranges. Additionally, its broad-area GMTI scanning capability detects and tracks moving targets in real time for cuing EO/IR sensors. GA-ASI has produced some 340 Lynx radars thus far.

Annex B


A2/AD—Anti-access/Area Denial

ADS-B—Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast

AIS—Automatic Identification System

ANSP—Air Navigation Service Provider

ARC—Advisory and Rulemaking Committee

ATC—Air Traffic Control

ATLC—Automatic Take-off and landing Capability

ATLS—Automatic Take-off and Landing System

CAA—Civilian Airspace Authority

COA—Certificate of Authorisation

DAA—Detect and Avoid

DEFSTAN—Defence Standard

DHS—Department of Homeland Security,

DRR—Due Regard Radar

EASA—European Aviation Safety Organisation

ECM—Electronic Countermeasure


ESM—Electronic Support Measures

EUROCONTROL—European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation

FAA—Federal Aviation Authority

GA-ASI—General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc

GA-UK—General Atomics Aeronautical Systems United Kingdom Limited

GCS—Ground Control Station

GMTI—Ground Moving Target Indicator

IED—Improvised Explosive Device

IGE—Improved Gray Eagle

IRAD—Internal Research and Development

ISR—Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance

ISTAR—Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance

MoD—Ministry of Defence

NASA—National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NATO—North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

RAF—Royal Air Force

RPA—Remotely Piloted Aircraft

RPAS—Remotely Piloted Air (or Aircraft) Systems

RSTA—Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition

SAA—Sense and Avoid

SAR—Synthetic Aperture Radar

SPCD—Sovereign Payload Capability Demonstration

STANAG—Standardisation Agreement

UAE—United Arab Emirates

UAS—Unmanned Air (or Aircraft) Systems

UAV—Unmanned Air Vehicle

UCAV—Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle

UK—United Kingdom

UOR—Urgent Operational Requirement

US—United States

USAF—United States Air Force

VHF—Very High Frequency

1 Defence Committee email 11 July 13: Defence Committee, Select Committee Announcement.

2 The US Federal Aviation Authority describes a UAS as “the unmanned aircraft [ ] and all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment, etc, necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft”. An RPAS is but one manifestation of a UAS.

3 Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance.

4 An orbit (or “task line” in RAF terms) denotes a continuous, ie, 24/7, surveillance/strike presence.

5 SAA is also referred to as Detect and Avoid (DAA).

6 ESM generally consist of two elements: electronic intelligence and communications intelligence. The former is often allied to an ECM (electronic countermeasures) system.

7 This Electronic Warfare capability was successfully demonstrated in April 2013.

8 DoD, DHS, NASA etc.

9 European Aviation Safety Organisation.

10 European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.

11 Air Navigation Service Providers.

12 Roadmap for the Integration of Civil Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems into the European Aviation System, Final Report from the European RPAS Steering Group, June 2013.

13 By way of comparison, the F-22 Raptor was designed for a service life of 8,000 flight hours.

14 A transponder-based system for tracking cooperative vessels. Need to delete space between footnotes

15 ATLS has completed over 10,000 successful automatic take-offs and landings and is the precursor of the Automatic Take-off and Landing Capability (ATLC) currently being developed for Reaper.

Prepared 24th March 2014