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General Atomics Guardian

United States (2006)

Detailing the development and operational history of the General Atomics Guardian Maritime Patrol Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

 Entry last updated on 5/25/2014; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  General Atomics Guardian  
Picture of General Atomics Guardian Maritime Patrol Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

The United States Customs and Border Protection Agency operates several specially-modified MQ-9 Reapers as the Guardian.

The General Atomics "Guardian" is a modified maritime patrol variant of the successful line of General Atomics MQ-9 "Reaper" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) family and operated under the banner of the United States Customs and Border Protection (US CBP). The CBP operates at least two in this navalized role, outfitted with the SeaVue marine search radar system. Additionally, they sport a special over-water electro-optical infrared sensor for the role. The MQ-9 Reaper (formerly known as "Predator B") forms a long-endurance, high-altitude, armed patrol role for the United States Air Force (USAF) and is in service with the forces of Australia, Britain, Netherlands and Italy as well with over 100 units built.

These aircraft retain much of the same form and function of their Reaper counterparts including their straight mainplanes, Vee-shaped vertical tail fins and bulbous nose section. However, a special extension is noted along the belly, mounting a pod, and winglets are added to the mainplane tips. The aircraft is still powered by a conventional engine system (Honeywell turboprop) that drives a three-bladed propeller unit at the rear of the fuselage in a "pusher" configuration. The integrated, retractable wheeled undercarriage allows the aircraft to take-off and land from any prepared runway.

The Guardians are known to be based out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (Florida) and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi (Texas).
Any available statistics for the General Atomics Guardian Maritime Patrol Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
General Atomics Guardian Specifications
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United States
Year: 2006
Type: Maritime Patrol Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Manufacturer(s): General Atomics Aeronautical Systems - USA
Production: 2
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 0
Length: 36.09 ft (11 m)
Width: 65.62 ft (20.00 m)
Height: 11.81 ft (3.60 m)
Empty Weight: 4,905 lb (2,225 kg)
MTOW: 10,472 lb (4,750 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine developing 900 horsepower.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 298 mph (480 kph; 259 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,150 mi (1,850 km; 999 nm)
Service Ceiling: 49,869 ft (15,200 m; 9.44 mi)

None. Special mission equipment centered around surveillance, intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance.

Operators List
United States

Series Model Variants
• Guardian - Base Series Name