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General Atomics is a nuclear physics and defense contractor headquartered in San Diego, Californiamarker. General Atomics’ basic research into fission and fusion matured into competence in many technologies, making General Atomics and its affiliated companies one of the world’s leading resources for high-technology systems development ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle to remotely operated surveillance aircraft, airborne sensors, and advanced electric, electronic, wireless and laser technologies.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, provides unmanned aerial vehicles and radar solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including the Predator, Predator B, Sky Warrior and Predator C. The Reconnaissance Systems Group designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)/GMTI radar into both manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as the highly sophisticated CLAW sensor control and image analysis software, and integrates sensor and communications equipment into manned ISR aircraft.

History

The TRIGA nuclear reactor was one of the first General Atomics projects
General Atomics (GA) was founded July 18, 1955 in San Diegomarker, Californiamarker as the General Atomic division of General Dynamics for the purpose of harnessing the power of nuclear technologies for the benefit of the United States of Americamarker.

GA's very first offices were in the General Dynamics facility on Hancock Street in San Diego. GA also used a schoolhouse on San Diego's Barnard Street as its temporary headquarters, which it would later "adopt" as part of its Education Outreach program. San Diego voters approved the transfer of land to GA for permanent facilities in Torrey Pines and the John Jay Hopkins Laboratory for Pure and Applied Science was formally dedicated there on June 25, 1959. The Torrey Pines facility continues to serve as the company's headquarters today.

The initial projects were the TRIGA nuclear reactor and Project Orion.

GA was sold in 1967 to Gulf Oil and renamed Gulf General Atomic. In 1973, GA was again renamed as General Atomic Company when Royal Dutch Shell Group's Scallop Nuclear Inc. became a 50-50 partner in the company. When Gulf Oil bought out its partner, effective January 1, 1982, Gulf subsequently renamed the company GA Technologies Inc. In mid-1984, Chevron took ownership of GA following its merger with Gulf Oil.

In 1986, the was sold to a company owned by Neal Blue and Linden Blue when it assumed its current name.

In 1987, former U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, Thomas J. Cassidy Jr. joined General Atomics, and in a period of three years, successfully established General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. as a leader in the field of unmanned aircraft.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) was spun off in 1994 as a General Atomics affiliated company.

In 2007, General Atomics was developing a next generation nuclear power plant design, the Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR).

Business groups

  • Advanced Technologies Group
    • Advanced Process Systems Division
    • Electromagnetic Systems Division - The Electromagnetic Systems (EMS) Division of General Atomics is a supplier of electromagnetic systems and related power equipment for a variety of defense, energy, and commercial transportation applications. EMS has expertise in the design and fabrication of linear motors, superconducting and conventional rotating motors, power inverters, high-voltage DC power distribution systems, and numerous other energy conversion, distribution, and storage systems. EMS is a leader in applying electromagnetic technologies to aircraft launch and recovery (EMALS and AAG System), projectile launch (Navy Rail Gun), and magnetic levitation transportation systems.
    • Systems Engineering Division
    • Nuclear Waste Management
  • Energy Group
  • Nuclear Fuels Group


Affiliated Companies

The Predator UAV is made by General Atomics affiliate General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
  • General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI)
    • Aircraft Systems Group
    • Reconnaissance Systems Group
  • General Atomics Electronic Systems (GA-ESI)
  • ConverDyn
  • Cotter Corporation
  • Heathgate Resources Pty, Ltd.
  • Nuclear Fuels Corporation
  • Rio Grande Resources Corporation
  • TRIGA International (with CERCA, a subsidiary of Areva)
  • General Atomics Power Inverters
  • Spezialtechnik Dresden GmbH


Educational Outreach

Since 1992, the General Atomics Science Education Outreach Program, a volunteer effort of GA employees and San Diego science teachers, has worked with Science Coordinators for the San Diego Schools to bring the business and research side of science into the classroom. The goal is both to improve the quality of science education and to encourage more students to pursue science careers. In addition, the teachers' interactions with the scientists and exposure to everyday uses of their disciplines help them to be better educators.

In 1995, the program was expanded and the General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation [501(c) (3)] was established. The General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation’s goal is to play a major role in enhancing pre-college education in science, engineering and new technologies. To attain this goal, four areas of core competency at General Atomics were initially selected to form the basis for the development of inquiry-based education modules and associated workshops. Scientist/teacher teams wrote these modules, which fuse the content and methodology of industrial research and development with the teaching skills of experienced science teachers.

Hundreds of teachers attended the initial workshops. Since the first workshops, additional educational modules have been developed and presented to teachers at local, state, and national conferences. Two of the modules developed attracted the interest of professional educational institutes, who have transformed them into educational modules that are being distributed nationally.

  • The Line of Resistance module and the Explorations in Materials Science modules were revised in collaboration with the Institute for Chemical Education (ICE) at the University of Wisconsinmarker. ICE is currently selling these modules nationwide.


  • Flinn Scientific is currently selling the “It’s a Colorful Life” module and associated color materials.


When these workshops are presented at conferences, the General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation supports the printing of various associated materials that are handed out to all participants, as well as the travel expenses of the General Atomics scientist presenters.

The General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation has supported many local education projects such as the PISCES Project and the San Diego Science Festival.

Accolades

  • 2008 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Company of the Year
  • 2008 Defense News Top 100, Ranked #57
  • Frost & Sullivan 2006 Business Development Strategy Leadership Award, presented for Gains in the Unmanned Aerial Systems Market
  • Shephard Press’ Unmanned Vehicles 2005 UAV Design Innovation Award, presented for Warrior Extended Range/Multi-Purpose UAV
  • Aviation Week 2005 Employer of Choice Finalist, Diversity, Valuing People, Technological Challenge -- Third Best U.S. Aerospace/Defense Employer
  • USAF Association 2004 John R. Alison Award for the most outstanding contributions to national defense by an industrial leader, presented to President/CEO, Thomas J. Cassidy Jr.
  • Aviation Week/AIA 2004 Employer of Choice Finalist, Technological Challenge -- Third Best U.S. Aerospace/Defense Employer
  • Frost & Sullivan 2003 Product Innovation Award, presented for Development of the First Armed UAV, the MQ-1 Predator
  • Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum 2002 Current Achievement Trophy, presented for Predator UAV Development
  • Flight International’s 2002 Aerospace Industry Award, Missiles & Military Aircraft, presented for RQ-1 Predator Hellfire Capability Development
  • Hall of Fame for Engineering, Science & Technology, 2002 U.S. National Inductee, presented to Executive Vice President Frank Pace for UAV Development and Promotion
  • AUVSI’s 2002 Pioneer Award, presented to President/CEO Thomas J. Cassidy Jr.
  • Shephard Press’ Unmanned Vehicles 2001 UAV Design Innovation Award, presented for Jet-powered Predator B Development Aviation Week’s 2001 Laurels Award, presented for Aeronautics/Propulsion
  • USAF’s 2001 Packard Award for Development & Engineering, presented for Predator/Hellfire Integration


Controversy

Government influence

General Atomics was the single biggest corporate underwriter of Congressional trips between January 2000 and June 2005, according to a nine-month study of congressional travel disclosure forms. The company spent more than $660,000 on 86 trips taken by members of Congress, their aides and families. Most of that was spent on overseas travel related to the unmanned Predator spy plane made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

The company said it had sponsored travel for members of Congress and their staffs "to promote enhanced understanding of General Atomics' technology research and product development." The company also noted that excursions were reviewed by "the appropriate Congressional ethics committees prior to travel."

In April 2002, for example, the company paid for Letitia White, who was then a top aide to Representative Jerry Lewis, and her husband to travel to Italy. White left Lewis' office nine months later, to become a lobbyist at Copeland Lowery. The next day, she began representing General Atomics. Lewis, her former boss, was at the time chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee.

Other controversy

In 2001, the company was sued for allegedly overcharging the U.S. government for projects between 1992 and 2001.

See also



References

  1. "Profile: General Atomics"
  2. [http://ice.chem.wisc.edu/Catalog.html "ICE Catalog, accessed 14 Oct 2009"
  3. "Sciences Education Foundation Background Information"
  4. "Frost & Sullivan Recognizes GA-ASI as the Outstanding Provider of Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Tactical Reconnaissance Radars for the U.S. Armed Forces"
  5. "Firms Seek Strategies for Riding Out Downturn"
  6. "GA-ASI Earns Frost & Sullivan’s Recognition for Business Development Strategy Leadership for Gains in Unmanned Aerial Systems Market"
  7. "Air Force Association Announces 2004 Aerospace Award Recipients"
  8. "AUVSI Foundation Awards Program"
  9. "General Atomics Media Information"
  10. "Report: Trips buy 'access that you and I can't get'"
  11. "General Atomics: Color It Blue"


External links




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