A Revolutionary Partnership in General Atomics

One remarkable aspect of the United States Air Force's unmanned aircraft revolution was that it almost didn't happen.

The service remained dedicated, as did the pioneers of aerospace at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

Initially, Air Force leaders concentrated on improved reconnaissance: There is no human crew on board.

The Predator could stay on station for many hours longer than conventional combat aircraft, orbiting areas of interest.

The Predator received improved sensors and a laser designator, allowing armed aircraft to strike targets with precision-guided munitions.

Suddenly, American officials required more, ever more, consistent, high-quality intelligence about events in Afghanistan.

The aircraft, as well as the Air Force and other U.S. government teams that operated it, met their end.

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