Acceptance Take a look at Procedures (ATP) for the primary Protector RG Mk1 Remotely Piloted Plane (RPA) system was accomplished on Aug. 26, 2022. Completion of ATP permits for the official hand-over of the plane to the UK Royal Air Power (RAF), the launch buyer of the MQ-9B RPA system developed by Basic Atomics Aeronautical Techniques, Inc. (GA-ASI). Protector is a specifically configured mannequin of MQ-9B, designed to satisfy the distinctive necessities of the RAF. ATP contains all inspections and exams carried out on the {hardware} in operation for the plane and in conformance with the purposeful specification and technical necessities.

Air Vice Marshal Simon Ellard, Director Fight Air at Defence Gear and Assist (DE&S) stated,”It’s a nice pleasure to just accept the official handover of the primary Protector plane on behalf of the MOD, following the profitable completion of Acceptance Take a look at Procedures.”


RAF Air Commodore Alex Hicks stated,”The acceptance of the primary Protector plane is a major and thrilling milestone within the supply of this world-class functionality to the Royal Air Power. The plane might be used to coach RAF technicians the best way to preserve the aptitude, previous to the arrival of the primary plane within the UK subsequent yr.”

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has exercised the clause in its contract with Basic Atomics Aeronautical Techniques, Inc (GA-ASI) to fabricate and ship 13 extra Protector RG Mk1 Remotely Piloted Air Techniques (RPAS) that had beforehand been recognized as choices.

ATP was carried out collectively by the UK Ministry of Defence and GA-ASI following the completion of the plane manufacturing and acceptance procedures. Over the previous two months, ATP has been carried out at GA-ASI’s Desert Horizon flight operations facility in El Mirage, Calif. The plane will stay within the U.S. to assist upkeep and pilot coaching. ATP was additionally accomplished on the primary two units of Transportable Pre-flight and Put up-flight Gear (P3Es). P3E is floor assist gear that replaces the legacy Ruggedized Plane Upkeep Take a look at Station (RAMTS) used to assist MQ-9A. It’s used for floor testing and upkeep operations with a direct-connect to the plane.

MQ-9B represents the following era of RPA techniques, having demonstrated airborne endurance of greater than 40 hours in sure configurations, computerized takeoffs and landings beneath SATCOM-only management, in addition to a GA-ASI developed Detect and Keep away from system. Its improvement is the results of a company-funded effort to ship an RPA that may meet the stringent airworthiness certification necessities of varied army and civil authorities. MQ-9B has garnered important curiosity from prospects all through the world. After the UK Ministry of Defence chosen MQ-9B SkyGuardian® for its Protector program, the Belgian Ministry of Protection signed a contract for SkyGuardian. Later this yr, the Japan Coast Guard will start operations utilizing the MQ-9B within the SeaGuardian® configuration.