General Atomics Markets Unarmed Predator for Export
General Atomics sees an undisclosed Middle Eastern country as the nearest prospect for a sale of an unarmed version of the Predator UAV, a company executive said.
A reduced scale model of the Predator XP hangs overhead at the General Atomics stand at the Farnborough International Airshow.
The UAV, dubbed XP for export, is similar to the Predator aircraft but the specifications have been reduced to classify as category two, a lower classification than category one, in the missile technology control regime, the executive said.
The XP air vehicle is designed for surveillance and reconnaissance and lacks hard points under the wings, so it’s unable to carry weapons, the executive said.
The technology control rules restrict the sale of the Predator to NATO allies and a handful of friendly countries such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand, leaving a number of countries in the Middle East and Latin America unable to buy the Predator because of the restrictions.
The XP model has winglets and incorporates the key characteristics of the Predator, namely triple redundancy in flight control systems and avionics, and an automatic landing and take-off capability.
The technology control regime was intended to restrict the spread of cruise missiles and a category one referred to weapon systems that carried a 500-kilogram payload for 300 kilometers.