General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced Friday the name of the latest version of its iconic Predator drones made in Poway will be “SkyGardian.”
The new version is designed to operate safely in civilian airspace and can fly for more that 35 hours at speeds up to 240 miles per hour. It is based on the Predator B design.
“The SkyGuardian name reflects the system’s role in protecting ground forces, as well as its performance of non-military missions like border-surveillance, maritime patrol, and relief over-watch in cases of natural disaster,” said Linden Blue, CEO of the company.
The company said the new drone is the result of a five-year-long, company-funded effort to deliver a system that can operate under the stringent airworthiness requirements of non-military airspace.
The remotely-piloted aircraft is capable of transmitting high-resolution video to manned aircraft and ground forces. A maritime variant, called “SeaGuardian,” is designed for surveillance operations by the Border Patrol, Coast Guard and disaster relief missions.