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General Atomics MQ-9B Protector / SkyGuardian (Predator B)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) / Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Drone

General Atomics MQ-9B Protector / SkyGuardian (Predator B)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) / Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Drone

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The General Atomics MQ-9B Protector is an offshoot of the Predator B UAV family line intended to meet NATO and FAA standards for commercial airspace operation.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 2021
STATUS: In-Development
MANUFACTURER(S): General Atomics - USA
PRODUCTION: 1
OPERATORS: Belgium (selected); United Kingdom (ordered); United States (possible)
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the General Atomics MQ-9B Protector model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 0
LENGTH: 36.75 feet (11.2 meters)
WIDTH: 66.60 feet (20.3 meters)
HEIGHT: 12.47 feet (3.8 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 3,858 pounds (1,750 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 11,023 pounds (5,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Honeywell turboprop engine of unknown horsepower output driving a three-bladed propeller unit in pusher configuration.
SPEED (MAX): 242 miles-per-hour (390 kilometers-per-hour; 211 knots)
RANGE: 2,796 miles (4,500 kilometers; 2,430 nautical miles)
CEILING: 40,010 feet (12,195 meters; 7.58 miles)




ARMAMENT



None. Mission fit consisting of sensors and data-collecting equipment.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• MQ-9B "Protector" (Predator B) - Base Series Designation.
• MQ-9B "SkyGuardian" - UCAV model
• MQ-9B "SeaGuardian" - Multi-mission maritime patroller.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the General Atomics MQ-9B Protector / SkyGuardian (Predator B) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) / Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) Drone.  Entry last updated on 11/20/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
In an effort to meet newer, more demanding NATO and American FAA regulations for airworthiness standards in civil airspaces around the globe, General Atomics is developing an offshoot of its hugely successful MQ-9 "Predator B" Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) as the MQ-9B "Protector". The type features upgrades at both the software and hardware levels to better serve in various global environments while also being protected against natural dangers such as bird strikes, icing, and lightning. Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) has committed to the type and the service expects to receive its first units before the end of 2018 with type certification expected between 2021 and 2022 (civil airspace certification will arrive later). This certification will allow the air vehicle to legally fly over population centers with the intended goal of monitoring and coordinating disaster responses and the like.

The Protector maintains the Predator's proven form and function, the sleek fuselage housing the primary avionics suite, optics fit, and powerplant. The wings are straight monoplanes with winglets at the tips. An optics package is positioned in a trainable blister pack under the chin. A Y-shaped tailplane arrangement is used that features a pair of outward-cranked fins and a single downward-cranked plane. The undercarriage sports three thin legs, all wheeled. At the rear of the aircraft is a three-bladed propeller unit arranged in "pusher" fashion.

The Protector is to have a maximum speed of 210 knots with a mission endurance window of some forty hours and a total product life of 40,000 hours. Operational ceilings will reach 40,000 feet. Supported systems are set to include the Raytheon MTS-B Electro-Optical / InfraRed (EO/IR) sensor fit, the GA-ASI "Lynx" multi-mode mission radar, and a true sense-and-avoid / all-weather functionality. Mission payloads will be modular to allow customers to append the product as needed.

The MQ-9B platform is also forming the basis for the armed "SkyGuardian" Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) which will feature support for precision-based guided munitions. Similarly, the "SeaGuardian" is being developed as a multi-mission maritime patroller with surface-search radar to meet the demands of over-water sorties in both the military and civilian spheres.




PROGRAM UPDATES

July 2018 - The MQ-9B SkyGuardian prototype was flown to RAF Fairford in England from Grand Forks, North Dakota - covering some 24 hours in the air. This marks the first such venture by a Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft.

November 2018 - Belgium has selected the MQ-9B SkyGuardian to fulfill its MALE requirement.
MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (242mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
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  PAR
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  BER
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  MSK
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  TKY
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  SYD
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  LAX
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  NYC
Graph showcases the General Atomics MQ-9B Protector's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.