General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) has announced it has completed full scale static (FSS) testing of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian variants of its Predator-B unmanned system.
Based on the MQ-9A Predator-B/Reaper, the SkyGuardian features a new wing which has a greater span and winglets, more hardpoints, and greater fuel capacity. In order to meet appropriate certification standards to allow the MQ-9B to operate in controlled airspace, the wing structure was subjected to forces simulating gust and manoeuvre conditions in flight to 150 per cent of its designed flight loads.
“Successful completion of FSS testing on the MQ-9B wing was a critical step in proving that our design meets stringent certification standards for structural strength and integrity,” GA-ASI’s Vice President, Engineering Research Development & Design Hardware, Dee Wilson said in a release.
“The wing performed as expected, matching analytical predictions closely. Our engineering design, stress, and test teams are commended for an exceptional effort in meeting this critical milestone.”
Australia has selected the SkyGuardian for its Project AIR 7003 armed UAS requirement, and is expected to sign a contact for 12 systems in 2021, while the UK and Belgium have also ordered the system.