MQ-9B SkyGuardian achieves record flight
The MQ-9B is a certifiable STANAG 4671 version of the Predator B UAS.
According to the company, the SkyGuardian flight was the longest ever by a Predator B aircraft. The UAS took off from Laguna Airfield at Yuma Proving Grounds with 6,065lbs of internal fuel onboard. Configured in an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance clean wing mode, the aircraft flew between 25,000 and 35,000ft for the duration of the mission and landed 48.2 hours later with 280lbs of reserve fuel.
GA‑ASI’s previous endurance record was held by Predator XP, which flew 46.1 hours in February 2015.
SkyGuardian has been designed for use in non-military airspace. The weaponised variant of the system is being acquired by the UK’s Royal Air Force for its Protector programme.
A maritime patrol variant, SeaGuardian, is designed to support open-ocean and littoral surface surveillance. All three variants are intended to fly in excess of 35 hours with airspeeds up to 210 knots and reach altitudes of over 40,000ft.
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