San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has finally flown its long-anticipated Predator C unmanned aerial vehicle, a stealthy, jet-powered model considered as a potential successor to the company’s MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper UAVs. Stephen Trimble of Flight Magazine broke the news in an entry at his DEW Line blog yesterday. According to Trimble, GA-ASI President and CEO Thomas Cassidy revealed in an interview that the Predator C flew the first weekend in April. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a while to know more details since GA-ASI spokeswoman Kimberly Kasitz told the Daily Report yesterday that the company has no plans to release any additional information on the Predator C “for another couple of weeks.” The company has been pursuing the Predator C for several years under a tightly held veil of secrecy. Already, GA-ASI supporters are lobbying for the new UAV. As pointed out by Trimble, San Diego-area Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) announced April 3 that he would like to see $26 million included in the next appropriations bill for Predator C development, saying the UAV would provide “an additional covert capability, enhanced by much higher operational and transit speeds for quick response and quick repositioning for improved mission flexibility and survivability.”
An Active-Duty Airman set himself on fire in front of the Israeli Embassy this afternoon, the Air Force confirmed to Air & Space Forces Magazine. The man, who was taken to the hospital and is in critical condition, has not yet been publicly identified.