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Decision to delay UK's MQ-9B Protector programme cost £186 million

17th March 2023 - 14:30 GMT | by Harry Lye in London


An MQ-9B SkyGuardian, known in the UK as Protector, pictured at RAF Waddington. (Photo: UK MoD/ Crown Copyright)

The Ministry of Defence's decision to delay the MQ-9B Protector programme by two years has cost the country £186 million, with total projected whole-life costs now at over £1.7 billion.

A decision by the UK MoD to delay the MQ-9B Protector remotely piloted air system (RPAS) by two years has added £186.8 million ($226.51 million) to the bill.

Overall, the programme's cost has increased by £325.6 million, enough to buy three F-35B fighter jets.

The increase is equivalent to roughly the cost of eight MQ-9Bs, based on Shephard Defence Insight's estimated flyaway unit cost of $37.8 million per RPAS. However, this does not factor in through-life and sustainment costs.

Additional costs feeding into the £325.6 million increase are £64.6 million to change the primary sensor on the aircraft to avoid

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Harry Lye


Harry Lye

Harry Lye is Senior Naval Reporter at Shephard Media.

Harry joined the company in 2021, …

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