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ALTUS FLYING SURVEILLANCE AT PENDLETON CRAFT SPOTS GROUND SIGNALS.

Byline: Daily News

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' remotely piloted ALTUS aircraft has been conducting signal intelligence and surveillance missions at Camp Pendleton in support of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

Using various sensors, the objectives of the mission were for ALTUS to fly at 15,000 feet and identify signals on the ground.

The information was then passed through a ground control unit, analyzed and passed back to ALTUS for optical confirmation of the coordinates. The operational capability demonstrated by ALTUS verified the ability to use remotely operated aircraft as intelligence gatherers.

ALTUS and sister aircraft such as the U.S. Air Force RQ-1 Predator and IGNAT systems have flown in the local area supporting a carrier battle group operating off the Southern California coast, Marine amphibious landings at Camp Pendleton and local submarine operations.

General Atomics is preparing the Gray Butte Airport southeast of Lake Los Angeles for checkout flights of its production-line Predator aircraft, which like the ALTUS are flown by remote control by pilots on the ground.

``As a San Diego-based company, GA-ASI has spearheaded the employment of remotely operated aircraft for our nation's success. This is a new era in aviation and exercises of this nature increase the utilization of unmanned aircraft systems for all 'dull, dirty and dangerous' missions,'' said Thomas J. Cassidy Jr., president and chief executive officer of GA-ASI. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. manufactures a range of remotely operated aircraft (ROA) used for various commercial and military applications around the world. The RQ-1 Predator and GNAT systems have proved their military utility as a force multiplier in combat areas such as the Balkans and Southwest Asia.

Together with the ALTUS, Prowler II and the newest jet-powered Predator B, GA-ASI will continue to provide a sophisticated, state-of-the-art family of ROAs for a range of missions including surveillance, reconnaissance, scientific research, battle damage assessment, signals intelligence and others.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 10, 2001
Words:316
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