Industry Press Releases

GA-ASI COMPLETES DESIGN REVIEW FOR USAF BLOCK 50 GCS Performance Requirements Met for Advanced Cockpit

20 June 2017

PARIS AIR SHOW 20 June 2017 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI) has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for its next-generation Advanced Cockpit Block 50 Ground Control Station (GCS) at the companys Poway, Calif., facilities. Completing the CDR was a key milestone towards fielding advanced capabilities for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) that will enhance combat effectiveness of its entire Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) fleet.

Our Block 50 team is proud of the development effort that addressed more than 700 customer requirements covering all areas of GCS performance, said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. The Block 50 GCS CDR marks the successful completion of requirements established by our Air Force customer.

The Cockpit Evaluation Team, comprised of USAF pilots and sensor operators, designed the Block 50s Human Machine Interface (HMI) to reduce pilot and operator workload. The overall layout, along with the cockpits HMI, was based on human-factors in collaboration with the National Institute for Aviation Research in Wichita, Kan.

Block 50 is designed for single seat operations that can reduce manpower at the users discretion. With complete Hands on Throttle and Stick for flight, weapons, payload, and sensor system control, aircrew situational awareness is greatly enhanced with a Common Operational Picture on a single display. Additionally, synthetic video is displayed with 3D graphics and moving maps on a touch screen.

The Block 50 architecture has full physical and functional payload separation from the safety critical Operational Flight Program, allowing for quicker integration, testing, and fielding of new payloads. The open architecture lends itself to replace different components without disturbing the overall design and will help the Air Force avoid costs of Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages. Through the support of the USAF Maintenance Evaluation Team, the requirements were developed to specifically improve the maintainability and reliability of the GCS design.

Under GA-ASIs current development contract with the Air Force, three Block 50 GCS have been completed and are in initial developmental testing, with four additional ground stations in work to include mobile shelter and fixed facility configurations. MQ-9 Reaper® ground and flight tests are scheduled for next year following successful conclusion of the systems integration and ground test phase.

Hi-resolution photos of the Advanced Cockpit Block 50 GCS are available to qualified media outlets from the listed GA-ASI media contact.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. Celebrating over 25 years of aviation innovation, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas. For more information, visit www.ga-asi.com.

Reaper, Predator, and Lynx are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

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