Karem Aircraft, Inc. is an American aerospace company with offices in Lake Forest, California and Fort Worth, Texas, founded[when?] by Abraham Karem as a rapid development firm specializing in advanced tiltrotor transport aircraft. Karem was the former chief designer for the Israeli Air Force — who built his first drone during 1973's Yom Kippur War — and has been described by The Economist as the man who "created the robotic plane that transformed the way modern warfare is waged — and continues to pioneer other airborne innovations". He migrated to the United States in the late 1970s.
Under his previous company, Leading Systems Inc. (LSI), Karem led teams that developed the Amber and GNAT 750 (predecessors of the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems, as well as the A160 Hummingbird Optimum-Speed Rotor UAV, now a Boeing product. Leading Systems has since gone bankrupt and was bought up by United States defense contractor General Atomics. The CIA secretly bought five drones (now called the "GNAT") from them. Karem agreed to produce a quiet engine, which until then sounded like "a lawnmower in the sky". The new development was renamed the "Predator".
The Hummingbird was developed by Frontier Aircraft. In May 2004, the company was acquired by Boeing and integrated into Boeing Phantom Works and then into the Advanced Systems group of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
- Frontier Aircraft
- "Lockheed Martin and Karem Aircraft Team to Support Department of Defense Joint Heavy Lift Program", Lockheed Martin, February 29, 2008.
- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005 edition), pp. 527-8 and 658 note 5.
- Boeing Frontiers Online
- Warwick, Graham. "Lockheed joins Karem in OSTR programme", Flightglobal.com, 11 March 2008.
- Karem Aircraft home page
- VERTIFLITE Rotorcraft forecast 2006-2015
- Optimum Speed Tilt Rotor OSTR on globalsecurity.org
- Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) on globalsecurity.org
- New Frontier: Life After Boeing Buys Drone Maker