Belgium and UK will cooperate in the use of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAVs
WARSAW, (BM) – The United Kingdom and Belgium indicate the need for cooperation in the use by both countries of MQ-9B (RPAS) SkyGuardian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24 . The local armed forces will use American-made machines, specially adapted to the specific needs of British and Belgian customers.
Pursuant to the currently signed declaration of intent, armies from Belgium and Great Britain are to explore the possibilities of cooperation in the implementation and operation of their latest UAVs. The key agreement was signed by the British Air Force Commander Marshal Mike Wigston, as well as Chief of Staff of Aviation and Major General Frederik Vansina, who is the commander of the Belgian Air Force.
London and Brussels are to focus on exploring the possibilities of close cooperation in the areas of training, maintenance, logistical support, interoperability and capacity building in the field of using new UAVs. All this to use the fleet of machines more effectively and, above all, cheaper.
The UK may be a much larger user of UAVs than Belgium, but of course their potentials in the MQ-9B (RPAS) range are similar. It should be pointed out that last month Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced a contract for the construction of the first three British Protectors (this was the name given to the British BSP), but with the option of 13 more machines in due time. Belgium acquires four MQ-9Bs and two drone ground control stations. The recipient of the supplies is General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, California.
It is also noted that the Protector RG Mk1 according to the British nomenclature, i.e. the MQ-9B, is the first RPAS to be designed, built and certified in accordance with the strict NATO and UK standards.
It is emphasized that this is important, as it is about standards equivalent to those applicable to classic aircraft that fly in civil airspace not specifically designated for the military.
The MQ-9B is a variant of the Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle. American Reaper drones have been stationed in Mirosławiec on a rotational basis for some time, and they also operate from other bases on NATO’s eastern flank (eg Estonia).
However, in accordance with the provisions of the new Polish-American military agreement, a squadron of this type of unmanned aerial vehicles will be permanently present in Poland, probably consisting of up to 12 machines. The main base for American drones will be Łask, while in Dęblin and Mirosławiec there will be additional bases.
About MQ-9 Reaper
The MQ-9 Reaper is a drone from the US manufacturer General Atomics. It is based on the MQ-1 Predator, which is why it was initially called Predator B. The MQ-9 is much larger and is primarily used for close air support. It is used by the United States Armed Forces and the Royal Air Force in Afghanistan, among others.
On March 20, 2020, the further development MQ-9B had its maiden flight. It is to be built in the versions “Sky Guardian” and “Sea Guardian”. Compared to the original Reaper, the B version is a completely new development in order to obtain approval for international airspace.
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