Initial flight trials for production standard MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAS

General Atomics begins flight trials of first production standard SkyGuardian UAS – link

Source: Jane’s

Article Headlines

  • General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc has begun flight trials of the first production standard MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAS, the company announced on 31 March
  • The first flight of aircraft BC03 took place out of GA-ASI’s Flight Operations Facility in El Mirage, California, the day before the announcement
  • The BC03 is a company aircraft that is being utilized for ground and flight testing to collect airworthiness certification data starting with flight loads and aircraft performance testing.
  • The results from the tests will form the Type Certification Exposition needed to achieve the Military Type Certificate for the UK’s Protector RG1 variant of the SkyGuardian
  • As noted by GA-ASI CEO, Linden Blue, this milestone means the company is on track to deliver the first of an initial 16 Protector RG1s to the United Kingdom (a stated requirement for 20 remains)
  • First deliveries to the Royal Air Force (RAF) are scheduled for the mid-2020s. The BC04 (also known as the UK1) is in the early stages of production and will first be used for platform and weapons testing ahead of being handed over to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD)
  • Further to the UK’s RAF, the SkyGuardian has also been selected by the Royal Australian Air Force to satisfy its Project Air 7003, and by the Belgian Air Component also

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