Navigator Awards

karemphotocolorThe Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is pleased to announce that Mr. Abe Karem, founder of Karem Aircraft and a pioneer in the field of aeronautics, has been named a recipient of a 2012 Navigator Award.  Mr. Karem and fellow awardees will be honored at a banquet at the Willard InterContinental Hotel on Thursday, June 21. This will be the 11th Navigator Awards event.

Regarding the selection of Mr. Karem for a Navigator Award, former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey said, “Abe Karem is an extraordinarily inventive man and one of the most remarkable aeronautical engineers of the 20th century.  His successes most famously include the Predator and its predecessor UAVs, Amber, and Gnat 750.  He is a pioneer in his field and he is most deserving of this prestigious award.”

Mr. Karem has devoted his career to innovative aircraft design and development, including long endurance UAVs and the development of the first helicopter to successfully use a variable speed rotor system. Over more than fifty years in aeronautics, Mr. Karem has repeatedly promoted revolutionary visions for innovation and demonstrated the technical acuity, perseverance, and leadership to realize these dreams.

Mr. Karem’s experience as an aircraft and system designer began with fixed-wing aeronautics in Israel, where he led major modifications to the Super Mystere and led the Kfir fighter design group. An indomitable entrepreneur, Mr. Karem left Israel to found his own company, Leading Systems, Inc. in California. Starting in his own garage, he developed the Albatross UAV family.  After winning a DARPA contract based on the phenomenal record of the Albatross, Mr. Karem developed the Amber UAV system. The Amber was a remarkably advanced all-digital, high-reliability UAV system. At a time when UAV endurance rarely exceeded 6 hours, the Amber achieved an impressive 38-hour endurance.

After the sale of Leading Systems, Inc., Mr. Karem became Chief Engineer of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, and worked to develop the Gnat 750, the Prowler, and the Predator UAV systems.  Later, he founded Frontier Systems and went on to design and develop the A160 Hummingbird, the first helicopter to successfully use a variable speed rotor system. He subsequently founded Karem Aircraft, Inc.

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' Navigator Awards are presented to members of Congress and to representatives of the executive branch, industry and academia in recognition of their distinguished contributions in the arena of science and technology. The Navigator Award is named as a tribute to those leaders in science and technology who act as pathfinders in the pursuit of knowledge.  Recipients in 2010 were Arden L. Bement, Jr., PhD, former Director of the National Science Foundation; Jeffrey Wadsworth, PhD, President and CEO of the Battelle Memorial Foundation; Elon Musk, CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors; and Gerald Edelman, MD, PhD, Director of The Neurosciences Institute, President of Neurosciences Research Foundation, and a Nobel laureate (1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine).  Other past recipients include:  Dr. Rita Colwell, Dr. Charles Herzfeld, VADM Paul Gaffney, Dr. Tony Tether, Dr. John Marburger, Dr. John Young, Senator Pat Roberts, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Senator Jeff Bingaman, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, General Al Gray, In-Q-Tel CEO Mr. Gilman Louie, former Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mr. John Rennie, and other distinguished thought leaders.