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MQ-9B to show off its capabilities in UK

4th February 2021 - 11:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A demonstration programme is expected to begin in July 2021.

The UK will host a series of capability demonstrations of the MQ-9B UAS in SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian configurations for NATO allies including the Netherlands, starting in July 2021.

Manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) announced on 3 February that the demonstration programme will be supported by the RAF, which is procuring the SkyGuardian (known as Protector in UK service with a range of modifications).

The General Atomics-owned UAS will be configured for maritime missions, including a multi-mode surface-search radar with inverse synthetic aperture radar imaging mode; an AIS receiver; and an HD full-motion video sensor with optical and IR cameras.

RAF Waddington (the future base for the Protector fleet) is expected to host the first event in the demonstration programme, which will culminate with the involvement of the MQ-9B in the UK-led Exercise Joint Warrior (scheduled for 26 September to 8 October) to show how maritime capabilities can be integrated with other air, surface and land platforms.

SkyGuardian flights will develop a detect-and-avoid capability, with a view to allowing Protector to operate in unsegregated UK airspace.

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