WASHINGTON — The export version of General Atomics' Predator UAV, the "XP" model, conducted a 40-hour test flight, the company announced Thursday.
During the flight, Predator XP validated its long-endurance capability by flying at 10,000 feet for greater than 40 hours, the company said. The flight began Feb. 6 and ended Feb. 8, at the company's Castle Dome Flight Operations Facility at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona.
Derivative of the MQ-1, the XP is designed solely for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and cannot be fitted with weapons. The company previously listed the XP's endurance at 35 hours.
"This flight was a landmark event for Predator XP in that it truly demonstrated the long-endurance capability of our latest [remotely piloted aircraft]," said Frank Pace, president of the company's aircraft systems unit. "In addition, it was a new company record for our aircraft."
Tight export restrictions limit US manufactures sales of unmanned aerial vehicles overseas. However, the United Arab Emirates struck a deal to obtain the unarmed XP, as did India earlier this month, according to some reports. The company has not announced an India deal.
In 2013, the Emirates air force signed a $197 million deal for the Predator XP.