Military Embedded Systems

Unmanned SkyGuardian contract for Belgium signed by GA-ASI

News

August 21, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Associate Editor

Military Embedded Systems

GA-ASI photo.

BELGIUM. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has signed a Foreign Military Sales contract with the U.S. Air Force for Belgian Ministry of Defense to acquire the MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).

The contract covers the design, development, integration, and production of the RPAS with its EO/IR video and SAR/GMTI surveillance payloads, as well as Certifiable Ground Control Stations (CGCS), Portable Pre-Flight/Post-Flight Equipment (P3E), ground support equipment, and spares. First delivery is expected in 2023.

The UK Ministry of Defence selected SkyGuardian for its MQ-9B Protector program, and recently concluded the production contract for deliveries to the Royal Air Force. SkyGuardian was also selected by the Australian Defence Force under Project Air 7003. 

MQ-9B development began in 2014 as a company-funded program to deliver an RPAS to meet NATO’s stringent airworthiness type-certification standard (STANAG 4671). STANAG certification will aim to enable SkyGuardian to operate in civil airspace and better perform border patrol, fire detection and firefighting support, maritime patrol, and resource monitoring missions. MQ-9B is provisioned for the GA-ASI-developed Detect and Avoid System (DAAS) to enhance safety of operations in civil and military airspace.