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General Atomics set to begin testing of LongShot UCAV

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has partnered with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to begin the flight-testing phase of the LongShot program.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has partnered with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to begin the flight-testing phase of the LongShot program.

General Atomics commenced the LongShot program in 2020 following a competitively awarded contract to develop DARPA’s concept for disruptive air combat operations through demonstration of an air-to-air weapons capable air vehicle.

The concept seeks to significantly increase engagement range and mission effectiveness of current fourth-generation fighters and air-to-air missiles.

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Mike Atwood, vice-president of Advanced Aircraft Programs at GA-ASI, said, “Flight testing will validate digital designs that have been refined throughout the course of the project. General Atomics is dedicated to leveraging this process to rapidly deliver innovative unmanned capabilities for national defence.”

Over the last three years, GA-ASI has iterated on numerous vehicle designs to optimise performance and will complete the design en route to flight testing in 2024.

The testing will validate basic vehicle handling characteristics and lay the foundation for follow-on development and testing.

The objective of the LongShot program is to disrupt the paradigm of air combat operations by demonstrating an unmanned air-launched vehicle capable of employing current air-to-air weapons, significantly increasing engagement range and mission effectiveness.

The program will design, fabricate, and flight test a demonstration system to prove the feasibility of the LongShot concept.

GA-ASI, an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPA systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator RPA series and the Lynx Multi-mode Radar.

GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent situational awareness.

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