Gambit drone
A rendering of the jet-powered Gambit drone. Image from General Atomics video

General Atomics on Thursday unveiled a new unmanned aircraft to succeed its iconic Predator series that has been used throughout the world.

The San Diego-based company’s aeronautical systems division said the new jet-powered “Gambit” aircraft is being built for air dominance and will utilize artificial intelligence.

Division President David R. Alexander said the company has led the industry in developing autonomous aircraft for military operations.

“Now we’re once again pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with unmanned aircraft, software, mission systems integration and more,” Alexander said. “Gambit will usher in a new era, where UAS work collaboratively with manned aircraft to detect, identify and target adversaries at range and scale across the battlespace.”

The company said the aircraft’s name is derived from the term for an opening move in chess.

No specifications were released, but the craft is said to be developed for the U.S. Air Force’s “loyal wingman” program than envisions autonomous drones supporting manned aircraft.

The Predator entered service in 1995, and hundreds were built. It has since been succeed by the Reaper, Gray Eagle and other variants.

Chris Jennewein

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