The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued Experimental Certificate (EC) for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ (GA-ASI) Predator C Avenger Extended Range (ER) aircraft.

The FAA EC will enable the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) system to perform routine operations in the US National Airspace System (NAS).

GA-ASI Aircraft Systems president David Alexander said: “Avenger ER continues to meet and exceed its development goals.

“By setting this new high endurance mark, we have demonstrated the tremendous capability of this aircraft to our customers.”

The Avenger ER RPA is a multi-mission, jet-powered UAS designed to provide expanded quick-response and enhanced combat capabilities for the US Air Force (USAF) and other allied forces.

It is designed to perform high-speed, long-endurance missions both on land and sea.

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GA-ASI said that the FAA-issued EC is provided for the second Avenger ER. The first Avenger received an EC in 2016.

The jet has a 44ft long fuselage, a 76ft wingspan and a payload capacity of more than 4,000lb.

It is capable of supporting a wide range of sensors and weapons loads and can carry an all-weather Lynx multi-mode radar, an electro-optical/infrared sensor, an infrared search and track system and a 2,000lb Joint Direct Attack Munition.

GA-ASI intends to start flight testing with the Avenger ER for multiple ‘contracted and Internal Research & Development (IRAD) projects’.

With its increased wingspan, Avenger ER can remain airborne for up to 20 hours.

Last month, GA-ASI announced that its Avenger aircraft fleet has crossed the 30,000-flight hour milestone.