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First Royal Air Power MQ-9B Protector Drone Completes Maiden Flight

The UK Royal Air Power’s first MQ-9B Protector drone has accomplished its maiden flight in Lincoln.

In the course of the take a look at, the plane was deployed from the RAF Waddington airfield and was guided by a human operator in a ground-based cockpit.

The milestone adopted the plane’s handover to the service in October as a part of a contract signed with Normal Atomics in 2020.

In 2021, the UK ordered 13 further MQ-9Bs, rising the long run Protector fleet to 16.

‘A Key Second’

The MQ-9B is now conducting trials to organize for discipline operations upon induction, the air drive wrote.

The system’s duties will embrace maritime and land surveillance, counter-terrorism, and civil authority assist.

Moreover, the army will leverage the drone to assist search and rescue missions spearheaded by HM Coastguard, the British authorities’s nationwide maritime emergency phase.

“At DE&S certainly one of our key drivers is strengthening operations by offering cutting-edge tools into the fingers of our Armed Forces,” UK Defence Gear & Help Remotely Piloted Air Techniques Head Simon Holford said

“Seeing the primary UK Protector take flight on UK soil is a key second alongside that journey to our aim.”

Royal Air Power Protector plane. Picture: UK Ministry of Defence

Supporting EU Airspace

The UK’s future MQ-9B fleet is scheduled to enter service by 2025. Upon supply and essential trials, the drones will substitute the Royal Air Power’s Reaper MQ-9As, operational for over 15 years.

Along with home intelligence, goal acquisition, and reconnaissance, the Protectors shall be evaluated for NATO requirements and different security certifications for civilian airspace in Europe.