As with Predator® B, Predator C Avenger® was developed through the foresight and funding of GA-ASI. Its unique design, reduced signature, and speed increases its survivability in higher threat environments and provides potential customers with an expanded quick-response armed reconnaissance capability. The first flight of Predator C occurred in April 2009. The aircraft is currently in an expanded flight test program.
The high-speed, multi-mission Avenger is a long-endurance, medium-to-high-altitude Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) system that can perform wide-area surveillance, time-sensitive strike missions over land or sea, and a host of other challenging military missions. The aircraft has much higher operational and transit speeds than current Predator-series aircraft, resulting in quick response and rapid repositioning for improved mission flexibility and survivability.
Avenger is a highly advanced, next-generation RPA. The jet-powered aircraft is equipped with a Pratt and Whitney PW545B turbofan engine capable of producing 4,800 pounds installed thrust. The engine is designed for greater fuel economy and features class-leading fuel consumption components. Avenger can operate at speeds up to 400 KTAS, a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet, and 18 hours endurance. Its significant payload capacity enables it to carry multiple sensors, while its internal weapons bay can house 3,500 pounds of precision munitions.
The next-generation Avenger employs the same materials and avionics as Predator B and is likewise controlled from and fully interoperable with GA-ASI Ground Control Stations (GCS) used for operating Predator-series aircraft. Avenger's low cost and advanced capabilities make it the optimum choice for employment in "swarm" tactics where affordable quantities count in a successful outcome.
In 2016, an extended range variant of Avenger will be available which will feature a 76-foot wingspan and increased fuel capacity that will increase the aircraft's endurance to 20 hours.