The makers of the Predator and Reaper drone, General Atomics, have announced that they have opened an office in London (although omit to say exactly where it is!). Their brief press notice says:
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and surveillance systems, today announced that General Atomics Aeronautical Systems UK Ltd (GA-UK), an affiliated entity, has been established with an office in London. The office will be managed by Dr. Jonny King.
“We are pleased that the London office will provide dedicated support for the Ministry of Defence’s [MoD’s] Remotely Piloted Air Systems [RPAS] requirements,” said Neal Blue, Chairman and CEO of GA-ASI.
GA-ASI has delivered a total of six aircraft to the MoD since the first UK Predator® B/ MQ-9 Reaper UAS was deployed to Afghanistan in October 2007, with the fleet expected to nearly double in size over the next few years. The aircraft have logged over 17,000 flight hours to date in support of UK forces on the ground.
A brief web search on Jonny King reveals that he has previously worked at QinetiQ on Autonomous Systems and Intelligent Vehicles and most recently at Cobham where he was responsible for developing Cobham’s Unmanned Systems business. Cobham has been a longtime partner with General Atomics on the Reaper programme.
Last summer General Atomics announced that it was looking for a UK partner for its bid on the future replacement for the Reaper UAV, for which General Atomics are bidding their Avenger drone in competition with BAE’s Mantis drone.