Predator C Flies

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.”