GA-ASI continues MQ-9B development
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) is continuing with the ontime development of its new remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), the MQ-9B, the company announced on 24 February 2019.
GA-ASI designed MQ-9B as the next generation of multi-mission Predator B fleet and named its baseline MQ-9B aircraft SkyGuardian and the maritime surveillance variant as SeaGuardian. According to the company, MQ-9B is the world’s only RPA being developed to be certified to fly in non-segregated, controlled airspace.
The Royal Air Force is acquiring SkyGuardian as part of its Protector RG Mk1 programme and is scheduled for first delivery in the early 2020s. Belgium also selected SkyGuardian for its defence needs. The Australian Defence Force also selected GA-ASI’s RPA system for Project Air 7003.
GA-ASI also demonstrated the SATCOM launch and recovery for MQ-9B using expeditionary C2 in December 2018. The second MQ-9B SkyGuardian completed its maiden flight in September 2018.
The MQ-9B features detect and avoid system, which consists of an air-to-air radar coupled with a traffic alert and collision avoidance system and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast.
Both MQ-9B SeaGuardian and SkyGuardian are capable of all-weather day and night operations. The cold weather engine start capability allows ground operations down to -41°C. These RPAS also have an electro-expulsive de-icing system for wing leading edges, anti-ice heated engine inlet, heated pitot tube and static ports and lightning protection.
SkyGuardian’s can be deployed for missions including environmental protection, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, maritime domain awareness, SAR and overland and overwater ISR.
To date, GA-ASI has delivered over 850 aircraft.
More from Uncrewed Vehicles
The Royal Danish Navy is boosting its autonomous mine countermeasures capabilities by procuring new uncrewed underwater systems.
A defence analyst claims that Russia's move to acquire and deploy Iranian UAV's in Ukraine tells of wider weapons supply issues and a depletion of stocks.
A team at the University of Maine will define a path forward to support advanced manufacturing of USVs, under a contract from the US Office of Naval Research.
Insitu receives order for 13 Blackjack and 25 ScanEagle UAVs.
Ukraine ordered 40 Warmates, half of which have already reached frontline units with the remainder to arrive by the end of September.
Despite a number of Skyborg test successes, a defence expert has questioned how the development of next generation drones will advance without activities being concentrated and clear requirements set out.