A General Atomics MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) will conduct a demonstration tour to the UK and Europe to participate in a series of exercises and demonstrations.
Configured as a SeaGuardian with a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar and a maritime Automatic Identification System (AIS), the company-owned RPAS will participate in three events with the RAF and the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) in July and August.
The UK has ordered the MQ-9B – to be known as the Protector RG Mk.1 in RAF service – to replace its MQ-9A Reaper RPAS. The tour will include a visit to RAF Waddington where the Protector will be based from 2023, and will also include Exercise Joint Warrior which is designed to demonstrate how maritime capabilities integrate with other air, surface and land platforms.
The demonstration tour will also include a collaboration with the RNLAF 306 Squadron and the RAF to display SeaGuardian’s maritime surveillance capabilities, and how the system can integrate into European airspace. The MQ-9B features a detect and avoid system (DAAS) that allows it to operate safely in controlled airspace.
The Royal Australian Air Force has selected the MQ-9B for its AIR 7003 armed UAS requirement, the sale of which was approved by the US State Department in April.