October 20, 2006 Aircraft AI-001, the first Army I-GNAT ER unmanned aircraft produced for the U.S. Army, is continuing the illustrious General Atomics Predator family tradition, recently passing 5,000 flight hours. Initially deployed in March 2004, the aircraft has been involved in continuous operations ever since, and achieved this major milestone on its 428th combat mission. Its key attributes of long endurance (over 40 hours), large payload capacity, ease of use, low maintenance and very low cost-per-flight-hour make it one of the most durable and operationally flexible UAS ever built. The I-GNAT is an improved version of the original GNAT-750 began operation in 1989 and is designed to takeoff and land conventionally from any hard surface.
All Army I-GNAT ER UAS are fully contractor-supported, and fielded aircraft operate with satellite communications (SATCOM) control to allow for beyond line-of-sight operation.
About the Author
Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks.
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