Belgium ready to negotiate for MQ-9B purchase
The Government of Belgium has approved Belgian Defence to begin negotiations with the US government to acquire the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) MQ-9B SkyGuardian Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), also known as Remotly Piloted Aircraft (RPA).
MQ-9B features satellite communications (SATCOM)-controlled automated takeoff and landing and a high-definition electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) full-motion video sensor. To highlight these capabilities in support of the celebration of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) 100th anniversary (RAF100) in July, SkyGuardian became the first Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) UAS to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean (story here). The system features 40+ hour endurance, all-weather, short-field, self-deployment, and “detect-and-avoid” capabilities.
SkyGuardian has also been selected by the RAF for its PROTECTOR RG Mk1 programme.
“We look forward to providing our unmanned aircraft systems to meet Belgium’s mission requirements, while also supporting the NATO Alliance,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI. “We are also eager to work with our industrial partners in Belgium on a host of activities ranging from manufacturing to maintenance.”
As it is a foreign military sale, the Belgian and US governments must negotiate terms under which the sale will take place.
Australia has yet to make a choice between the MQ-9 REAPER Block 5 variant, which is currently in production for the US Air Force, or the MQ-9B SkyGuardian under development for the UK.