New MQ-9B SkyGuardian®/SeaGuardian Models Add More Than 4,000 Hours
SAN DIEGO – 14 July 2023 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) today announced that its family of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), which includes the Predator®, Reaper, Gray Eagle, Avenger®, and MQ-9B SkyGuardian®/SeaGuardian® lines, has surpassed eight million flight hours. GA-ASI aircraft have completed 566,000 total missions in nearly 40 countries around the world.
Adding to the total are 13 MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian UAS that have flown more than 4,000 flight hours, including the new Protector RG Mk1 being delivered to the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. The first three Protectors are currently undergoing Integrated Test, Evaluation, and Acceptance trials. In addition, MQ-9Bs are being operated by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF), as well as supporting various U.S. Navy exercises.
“GA-ASI continues to be a leader in developing reliable, cost-efficient, and sustainable unmanned aircraft systems that perform advanced operations for our customers around the world,” said GA-ASI CEO Linden P. Blue. “Eight million flight hours is another achievement on our list of historic firsts, which demonstrates our relentless commitment to quality.”
The exact aircraft and customer that achieved the milestone is unknown, as it’s estimated that more than 50 Predator-class Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) RPA are airborne worldwide every moment of every day.
GA-ASI aircraft average 40,000 hours per month, supporting programs with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, NASA, the Italian Air Force, the UK Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, the Spanish Air Force, the Royal Netherlands Air Force, the Indian Navy, the Polish Air Force, JCG, JMSDF, and others, with more customers coming online soon. Missions include helping protect ground units on the battlefield, supporting first responders in the wake of natural disasters, and providing critical ISR around the world. These aircraft systems continue to maintain some of the highest mission-capable rates in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army aircraft inventories.
GA-ASI has produced more than 1,000 aircraft and nearly 500 Ground Control Stations (GCS) in more than three decades of business. In addition to UAS and GCS, GA-ASI produces Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (PED) systems, as well as sensor payloads that deliver radar and video imagery, detect moving targets on the ground and over water, and provide Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) on signals of interest. GA-ASI has also developed a Detect and Avoid (DAA) system to facilitate the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into civil airspace in addition to combat environments.
The Predator-series family includes Predator A and Predator XP, Predator B/MQ-9A Reaper, Predator B Extended Range (ER), Guardian, Gray Eagle, Gray Eagle ER, Predator C Avenger/ER, and MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian.
Photo courtesy GA-ASI