The United States Customs and Border Protection Agency operates several specially-modified MQ-9 Reapers as the Guardian.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
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).
Status Active, Limited Service
[ 2 Units ] : General Atomics Aeronautical Systems - USA
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
36.09 ft (11 m)
65.62 ft (20 m)
11.81 ft (3.6 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the General Atomics Guardian production model)
4,905 lb (2,225 kg)
10,472 lb (4,750 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the General Atomics Guardian production model)
1 x Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine developing 900 horsepower.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the General Atomics Guardian production model)
298 mph (480 kph; 259 kts)
49,869 feet (15,200 m; 9.44 miles)
1,150 miles (1,850 km; 999 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the General Atomics Guardian production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None. Special mission equipment centered around surveillance, intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the General Atomics Guardian production model)
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