The UK’s Royal Air Force welcomed a visit by a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) MQ-9B SkyGuardian to RAF Waddington on Thursday 9 September.
The RAF is procuring 16 aircraft, which it has named as the Protector RG.Mk1.
The Protector fleet will be based at RAF Waddington which is home to the RAF’s ISR/ISTAR force, which currently includes two Reaper RPAS squadrons – 13 Squadron and 39 Squadron.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston, and Minister for Defence Ben Wallace attended to watch the aircraft conduct demonstration. ACM Wigston commented: “The Sky Guardian aircraft that you can see here is representative of the 16 Protectors that we’ve ordered and that will be based and operating from RAF Waddington from 2023. The enormous leap in technology that we will see with with Protector when it comes into service is something that I’m absolutely delighted to see.”
Following the visit to RAF Waddington the SkyGuardian flew north to the Scottish base, RAF Lossiemounth on 12 September, so that it could trial its utility with other participating units during Exercise Joint Warrior, a major biannual multi-national military exercise.
by Andrew Drwiega