Source: Wired & YouTube
The Avenger (formerly Predator C), whose prototype flew its first flight in 2009, is operationally ready after a new round of tests completed last month, according to its maker, General Atomics. Based on the company’s more well-known MQ-9 Reaper drone, Avenger is designed to perform high-speed, long-endurance surveillance or strike missions, flying up to 500 mph at a maximum of 50,000 feet for as long as 18 hours.
Compared to its earlier prototype, Avenger’s fuselage has been increased by four feet to accommodate larger payloads and more fuel, allowing for extended missions. It can carry up to 3,500 pounds internally, and its 66-foot wingspan is capable of carrying weapons as large as a 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).
Switching from propeller-driven drones to jets will allow the CIA to continue its Pakistan strikes from a more distant base, if and when the U.S. is forced to withdraw troops entirely from neighboring Afghanistan.
Max Altitude : 50,000 ft
Max Endurance : 18 hr
Max Airspeed : 400 KTAS
•High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) (150kW)
•Jet performance and reliability
•Reduced detection features
•Internal stores carriage
•Multiple payload capacity
•Retractable EO/IR gimbal
•Dual-redundant flight controls
•Six external hard points
•Compatible with all GA-ASI GCS
•C-5/C-17 transportable (or self-deploy)...