Predator Drone Maker General Atomics Flying Spy Missions For the Pentagon

The U.S. military wants to boost its drone presence by 50 percent in four years, and it’s hiring help. General Atomics, maker of the ubiquitous Predator and Reaper drones, began flying intelligence missions for the Defense Department this month.

It’s not unprecedented for the military to hire drone builders to fly them. Boeing pilots its small, unarmed ScanEagle drone, which has a ceiling of 3,500 feet and a top speed under 250 mph, for the Pentagon. But the Predator is far more capable, typically flies at 10,000-feet and, of course, has an armed variant.

Officials with General Atomics told Defense One that the company began flying surveillance missions for the Pentagon, although they could not disclose the location or mission details.

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