General Atomics confirms Australian SkyGuardian buy
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) confirmed on 4 December that it has been advised that the Australian government has selected its MQ-9B SkyGuardian variant to provide the armed RPAS for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) under Project Air 7003. The ADF expects to take first delivery in the early 2020s.
‘We have worked closely with the ADF to determine the right RPAS to meet their needs,’ said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. ‘MQ-9B will provide the all-weather, multi-mission support and interoperability that the ADF requires. We look forward to working closely with our Australian industry partners to provide a highly capable RPAS to the ADF, while creating high-tech jobs in Australia.’
Australia joins the UK Royal Air Force (RAF), which is acquiring the MQ-9B as part of its Protector RG Mk1 programme and is also scheduled for first delivery in the early 2020s. Too, the government of Belgium has approved Belgian Defence to negotiate for the acquisition of the MQ-9B to meet the nation’s RPA requirements.
According to the company, the MQ-9B development is the result of a five-year, company-funded programme to deliver an unmanned aircraft system to meet the stringent airworthiness type-certification requirements of NATO and civil aviation authorities throughout the world.
The MQ-9B is provisioned for the company’s detect and avoid system, which consists of air-to-air radar, traffic alert and collision avoidance system, and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast. The MQ-9B is built for all-weather performance with lightning protection, damage tolerance, and a de-icing system.
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