General Atomics has conducted lightning simulation tests on a full-scale MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft last month at a company facility in Poway, Calif.
GA-ASI plans to integrate the same technology into its proposed unmanned aerial refueling tanker for the U.S. Navy‘s MQ-25 program.
The recent test simulated a direct lightning strike and examined interactions between the MQ-9B airframe, cables and integrated equipment that support the vehicle’s lightning protection design.
David Alexander, president of aircraft systems at GA-ASI, said completion of the lightning tests marked a step toward airworthiness certification.
MQ-9B is a “certifiable” variant of the MQ-9 Predator B platform and is the product of a five-year, company-funded project to develop an RPA compliant with military and civil aviation regulations.
The U.K. looks to procure a weaponized MQ-9B system for the British air force’s PROTECTOR RG Mk 1 program.