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New export efforts for the General Atomics - Aeronautical Sciences Inc Predator and Reaper unmanned air vehicle are being unveiled at the IDEX defense show in Abu Dhabi. The standard Predator and Reaper include specialized military sensors and processors that are subject to tight export restrictions, which largely prevent their supply to the Middle East and Asia. To expand the market, GA-ASI is looking to other sensor suppliers.FLIR Systems has announced that GA-ASI has selected its Star Safire 380-HD imaging turret sensor for the Predator XP. It offers simultaneous thermal, visible and near-IR imaging. The 380-HD is a US-developed system and is therefore subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations, but FLIR's products are developed to commercial standards and can be made more widely available than the standard Raytheon sensor.Meanwhile, Selex Galileo is working with GA-ASI on a version of Predator B/Reaper, targeted at the UK and Italian air forces. Both operate the standard aircraft (the armed Reaper for the UK, Predator B for Italy). The new version would feature Selex Galileo's electro-optical and active electronically scanned array radar sensors, according to group marketing director Gianpiero Lorandi, and Selex Galileo would also be responsible for integrating the mission systems. UK and Italy would be launch customers, but the UAV would be intended for export, Lorandi says. "Outside the US and Israel, we are the only company that can provide the full range of UAV mission systems," Lorandi says. Selex Galileo is working on improved AESA technology which would provide full 3D scanning for its UAV ground-surveillance radars.
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