The UK Royal Air Power’s first MQ-9B Protector Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) has accomplished its maiden flight in Lincoln.
Through the check, the plane was deployed from the RAF Waddington airfield and was guided by a human operator in a ground-based cockpit.
The milestone adopted the plane’s handover to the service in October as a part of a contract signed with Common Atomics in 2020.
In 2021, the UK ordered 13 further MQ-9Bs, growing the longer term Protector fleet to 16.
‘A Key Second’
The MQ-9B is now conducting trials to arrange for subject operations upon induction, the air drive wrote.
The system’s duties will embody maritime and land surveillance, counter-terrorism, and civil authority assist.
Moreover, the navy will leverage the drone to help search and rescue missions spearheaded by HM Coastguard, the British authorities’s nationwide maritime emergency phase.
“At DE&S one in all our key drivers is strengthening operations by offering cutting-edge gear into the fingers of our Armed Forces,” UK Defence Tools & Assist RPAS Head Simon Holford acknowledged.
“Seeing the primary UK Protector take flight on UK soil is a key second alongside that journey to our objective.”
Supporting EU Airspace
The UK’s future MQ-9B fleet is scheduled to enter service by 2025. Upon supply and mandatory trials, the drones will exchange the Royal Air Power’s Reaper MQ-9As, operational for over 15 years.
Along with home intelligence, goal acquisition, and reconnaissance, the Protectors might be evaluated for NATO requirements and different security certifications for civilian airspace in Europe.
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