A Predator B Big Wing in flight. Courtesy General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in Poway announced Wednesday that the latest model in its Predator series of unmanned aircraft had flown for over 37 hours in a test.

A Predator B “Big Wing” version flying out of Palmdale was able to launch, climb to an operational altitude, loiter, conduct reconnaissance maneuvers, and land safely after 37.5 hours. This was a 10 hour increase over the previous model’s endurance.

“This long-endurance flight demonstrates Predator B Big Wing’s game-changing potential for providing life-saving persistent ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] in support of U.S. and coalition warfighters,” said David R. Alexander, president of aircraft systems at General Atomics.

“Our company continually strives to extend Predator B’s already impressive endurance further, pushing the aircraft’s capabilities to its full potential,” he added.

The new model’s wings are 13 feet longer than the standard Predator B and incorporate greater internal fuel capacity, significantly increasing the aircraft’s endurance.

The United States and its allies are using unmanned aircraft in many parts of the world to battle terrorists, with recent strikes in Pakistan, Libya and the Sudan. This ongoing battle was recently popularized in the movie “Eye in the Sky.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.