The Pakistan Air Force is expected to unveil Bayraktar TB2 UAVs in March 2022, as it seeks to gain an advantage over Indian air defences.
Belgium and UK seek SkyGuardian tie-up
The air forces of Belgium and the UK have signed a bilateral letter of intent to cooperate on training, maintenance, logistical support, interoperability and capacity for the MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS.
Both countries are acquiring the MQ-9B for ISTAR missions: the US recently confirmed a $188.87 million FMS package for Belgium, including four SkyGuardian UAVs from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, plus two ground stations, spare parts and support equipment.
Belgium expects to receive its first MQ-9B in 2023.
In July 2020, the UK signed a contract for three MQ-9Bs (designated Protector in RAF service), with an option for 13 more.
Maj Gen Frederik Vansina, commander of the Belgian Air Component, said in a 17 August statement: ‘Our countries see great potential in developing a strategic partnership , which will allow us to take up common challenges more vigorously, in addition to rationalising the interoperability of our armed forces in the use of this cutting-edge tool.’
The MQ-9B is designed, built and certified to operate in controlled airspace and segregated (military) airspace.
From the UK perspective, Air Chf Mshl Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: ‘The introduction of the Protector MQ-9B reflects a radical change in the execution of operations using remotely piloted aircraft in Europe and the rest of the world.’
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