General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), the world's leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), has been advised that the Australian Government has selected GA-ASI's MQ-9B SkyGuardian® variant to provide the Armed RPAS for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) under Project Air 7003. This follows the Government's announcement in November 2018 that GA-ASI would provide Armed RPAS to the ADF. The ADF expects to take first delivery in the early 2020s.
"We have worked closely with the ADF to determine the right RPAS to meet their needs," said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. "MQ-9B will provide the all-weather, multi-mission support, and interoperability that the ADF requires. We look forward to working closely with our Australian industry partners to provide a highly capable RPAS to the ADF, while creating high-tech jobs in Australia."
The ADF joins other top-tier military forces in choosing a GA-ASI RPAS because of its proven multi-role combat performance. MQ-9B is part of GA-ASI's Predator® series of RPAS, which is the world's most trusted and capable armed Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) RPAS, and hails from a family of aircraft that has flown more than six million flight hours.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is acquiring the MQ-9B as part of its Protector RG Mk1 program and is scheduled for first delivery in the early 2020s. The Government of Belgium has approved Belgian Defense to negotiate for the acquisition of MQ-9B to meet the nation's RPA requirements.
MQ-9B development is the result of a five-year, company funded program to deliver an unmanned aircraft system to meet the stringent airworthiness type-certification requirements of NATO and civil aviation authorities throughout the world. MQ-9B is provisioned for the GA-ASI-developed Detect and Avoid (DAA) system, which consists of air-to-air radar, Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II), and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). The MQ-9B is built for all-weather performance with lightning protection, damage tolerance, and de-icing system.
GA-ASI announced its intention to offer a MALE RPAS to the ADF during AVALON 2017 with the launch of Team Reaper Australia, a robust group of Australian industry partners. The team currently consists of ten world-class Australian companies providing a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life-cycle support capabilities including Cobham (lead industry partner), CAE, Raytheon, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Quickstep, AirSpeed, Collins Aerospace, Ultra, and SentientVision.