General Atomics' MQ-9 Reaper (formerly the Predator B)
  • General Atomics' MQ-9 Reaper (formerly the Predator B)
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According to Reuters yesterday (Nov. 22), General Atomics Aeronautical Systems may have to lay off about one-fourth of its production staff of 1400 unless the company gets more government orders, Frank Pace, president of the aircraft systems group, said at the Dubai airshow.

Pace said the Pentagon's current plan is to halve its purchases of Predator B drones to around 24 a year; that means the company is looking for foreign purchasers, or perhaps the United States Marine Corps. However, the Marines face cutbacks, too, although it may buy drones in 2018.

However, U.S. restrictions on foreign sales are impeding the export effort, Pace said. Foreign sales of larger unmanned serial vehicles (UAVs) are banned under rhe Missile Technology Control Regime, Reuters said.

General Atomics' new, larger Predator C drone, which can go three times as fast as the Predator B and carries ten times as many sensors, would be subject to those restrictions, Pace said.

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Comments

Visduh Nov. 23, 2013 @ 9:52 a.m.

With all this controversy about drones that we see and hear every day, they're not all that ultra-lucrative for GA, it would appear. In fact, that newest one you mention sounds like a product in need of a market. I'm sure the Blue(s) brothers would love to sell their aircraft all round the world, and are angry that they cannot. But if we start selling them to those who are, or would arm, our enemies, we all will intensely regret doing so. The Saudi's might want a few, but remember they are not our "friends" at all.

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Don Bauder Nov. 23, 2013 @ 10:22 a.m.

Visduh: As you know, even if you sell armaments to countries or dealers you trust, you don't know where they will end up. Best, Don Bauder

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FatCatSegat Nov. 23, 2013 @ 10:26 a.m.

Miniaturize them, remove the weapons systems and replace with nerf missiles, sell the rights to Tyco and they'll be the next big thing at the Toy stores! Adapt and overcome. A whole new market is born!

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Don Bauder Nov. 23, 2013 @ 4:02 p.m.

FatCatSegat: Send the idea to GA. You might get a commission on every sale. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Nov. 23, 2013 @ 10:32 a.m.

No extra money for the Predator has been appropriated. Funding for the Predator has been coming from the Air Force repair and maintenance budget to the tune of almost $1 billion per year. The Predator is basically worthless as a military weapon. In the event of a war with China, the Chinese would jam the radio signals that control the Predator and the Predator could not fly. The Predator is extremely slow and an enemy could deploy low speed helicopters or even civilian propeller driven aircraft and shoot down the Predator with a shot gun. Almost half the Air Force fleet of fighter planes no longer fly because funding for the Predator is sucking the Air Force's maintenance budget dry. Tough funding decisions have to be made and continuing to fund a toy like the Predator is a poor one.

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Don Bauder Nov. 23, 2013 @ 4:07 p.m.

Burwell: If the Pentagon decides the Predator is fundamentally a toy, the San Diego economy could take a hit. Of course, there is always domestic spying with drones. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Nov. 23, 2013 @ 4:51 p.m.

Burwell, all the things you say may be true. But there is a compelling reason to use them whenever/wherever they will work. That is that a mission puts no crew member(s) in harm's way. I think the USAF will continue to buy them in some numbers regardless.

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Don Bauder Nov. 23, 2013 @ 7:27 p.m.

Visduh: That's the argument: we don't kill our own military people. We only kill those on the other side, including, chillingly often, perfectly innocent people who just happened to be in the area. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Nov. 27, 2013 @ 7:35 a.m.

If pakistan gets drones, they will probably be used to knock out the competition in the drug trade.

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Don Bauder Nov. 27, 2013 @ 11:18 a.m.

Murphyjunk. I would think drones are already being used for that purpose. Best, DON Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Nov. 27, 2013 @ 1:57 p.m.

for now they have home made drones, they want the "good stuff"

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Don Bauder Nov. 27, 2013 @ 4:43 p.m.

Murphyjunk. In drones, the slogan is Buy American. Best, Don Bauder

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