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Thu, 12 July 2018

GA-ASI Makes History as MQ-9B SkyGuardian Completes Trans-Atlantic Flight

The GA-ASI-owned MQ-9B SkyGuardian - a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) - made history on Wednesday as it landed at RAF Fairford in England to become the first MALE RPA to successfully complete a trans-Atlantic flight.

Produced by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), the MQ-9B SkyGuardian took off from Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA on 10 July at 12:48 p.m. CDT. The flight covered 3,760 nautical miles and took 24 hours 2 minutes.

“This historic event was a demonstration of the endurance and civil airspace capability of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, and it is fitting to do this as part of the centennial celebration of the RAF,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “The successful flight of the MQ-9B is the culmination of the hard work and innovation of our dedicated employees, and the strong relationships that we enjoy with the RAF, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) and our UK industry partners such as Cobham.”

The GA-ASI-owned MQ-9B SkyGuardian - a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) - made history on Wednesday as it landed at RAF Fairford in England to become the first MALE RPA to successfully complete a trans-Atlantic flight. Click to enlarge.

Over the past 10 years, the RAF has operated GA-ASI’s MQ-9 Reaper RPA in support of NATO and coalition operations. As the RAF is celebrating its 100-year anniversary (RAF100) this year, GA-ASI seized the opportunity to fly the newest MQ-9 version, MQ-9B to RIAT. The RAF configuration of MQ-9B will be called PROTECTOR RG Mk1.

MQ-9B is the next generation of GA-ASI’s multi-mission Predator B fleet. GA-ASI named its baseline MQ-9B aircraft SkyGuardian, and the maritime surveillance variant SeaGuardian.

 MQ-9B is a “type-certifiable” (STANAG 4671-compliant) version of the MQ-9 Predator B product line. Its development is the result of a five-year, company-funded effort to deliver a RPA that can meet the stringent airworthiness type-certification requirements of various military and civil authorities, including the UK Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA) and the U.S. FAA.

 Type-certification, together with an extensively tested collision avoidance system, will allow unrestricted operations in all classes of civil airspace.

Paul Armstrong, Senior Vice President of Cobham Aviation Services UK, said, “The SkyGuardian trans-Atlantic flight is a significant and exciting event for both GA-ASI and for the future capability of the RAF. Cobham is proud to have a teaming agreement with GA-ASI for logistics and maintenance services, which builds on our present support of the Reaper Ground Control Stations. We look forward to working with both GA-ASI and the RAF as the PROTECTOR RG Mk1 comes into service.”

 The MQ-9B will be on static display at the RIAT airshow from 13 - 15 July.

See also: airBaltic Airbus A220-300 HD Video and Podcast Interview with Martin Gauss, CEO.

See latest HD Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: GA-ASI, SkyGuardian, Defence, Security.

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