Increased Flexibility for US and International Partners
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced on 16 July that the MQ-9B UAS will be able to use both the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the European GALILEO satellite constellation for its navigation systems. The baseline MQ-9B was originally designed to include a triplex navigation system based on GPS navigation: however, provisions have been added to the navigation receiver to support the GALILEO navigation system as well.
GALILEO is the global navigation satellite system created by the European Union: GA-ASI believes having multiple satellite options is important to customers who will want to be able to switch from one constellation to another in the event connectivity is ever lost or denied.
“Many of our US and international partners have plans to produce multi-constellation navigation receivers,” commented GA-ASI’s President, Aircraft Systems, David R. Alexander. “The multi-constellation receivers will add to the operational flexibility of the MQ-9B and will benefit our international and domestic customers, especially those based in Europe.”
MQ-9B is a STANAG 4671 ‘certifiable’ version of GA-ASI’s multi-mission PREDATOR B business line, with the baseline aircraft designated SKYGUARDIAN and the maritime surveillance variant known as SEAGUARDIAN. Its development is the result of a five-year company-funded effort to deliver a remotely piloted aircraft that can meet the stringent airworthiness certification requirements of various military and civil authorities, including the British Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA) and the US FAA.
A weaponised variant of the system is being acquired by the Royal Air Force under the PROTECTOR RG Mk1 programme.