UK & US Air Forces, Industry Partners Coordinate on MQ-9B Protector RPA Test

The U.K. Royal Air Force has coordinated with the U.S. Air Force and industry partners to test and evaluate a remotely piloted air system built by General Atomics‘ aeronautical systems business.

RAF said Tuesday it intends to procure 16 MQ-9B Protector RPAs from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. to replace the service branch’s current MQ-9 Reaper platform.

A group of U.K. military pilots, sensor operators and engineers called the Protector Combined Test Team is preparing for the introduction of the MQ-9B variant into service.

Iain Hutchinson, RAF wing commander and CTT head, said Protector is designed to expand Reaper’s surveillance and precision strike capacities.

Hutchinson added the variant will complement the service branch’s intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance and combat air platforms such as the F-35 aircraft.

CTT aims to ensure Protector’s compliance with national and international airspace and safety regulations.

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