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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems officials have regularly denied the existence of the company's new, all-jet Predator C, an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft that's designed to compete with Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk for very long-endurance, high-altitude missions. However, Washington-based officials say Pratt & Whitney has won a secret competition to supply the engines for the Predator C, which is under construction and is to be rolled out later this year. General Atomics' plan is to offer an aircraft with 85% of the Global Hawk's performance at 25-50% of the price in a period of defense spending declines. Critics say sensor payloads drive up cost, not the airframes. Nonetheless, Northrop Grumman is offering a scaled-down Global Hawk plus a new UAV based on Scaled Composites' Proteus high-altitude research aircraft.