MQ-9B SkyGuardian

Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)

GA-ASI designed MQ-9B SkyGuardian is the next generation of the multi-mission Predator® B fleet.

MQ-9B SkyGuardian Lineart

The MQ-9B SkyGuardian is the latest variant of the MQ-9 series RPAS currently operated by the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, and soon Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. MQ-9B adds several key enhancements to the proven MQ-9 series allowing for better performance, lower operating and sustainment costs and access to all classes of airspace.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is acquiring SkyGuardian as part of its Protector RG Mk1 program and is scheduled for first delivery in the early 2020s. Belgium also selected SkyGuardian for its defence needs. The RPA is being considered as an option for the Australian Defence Force, who chose GA-ASI to supply the RPA system for Project Air 7003.

Strong, Secure, Engaged

MQ-9B SkyGuardian meets Canada’s strategic vision and primary missions in Strong, Secure, Engaged by providing ISTAR and precision effects in support of CAF commanders, Persistent long-range coastal and arctic surveillance, and multi-role, combat capable platform supporting domestic security and deployed expeditionary operations.

Interoperability Requirements

MQ-9B is the only RPAS that meets Canada’s interoperability requirements while seamlessly integrating with Canada’s closest Allies. MQ-9 has supported NORAD, Five-Eyes and NATO missions for over a decade.

  • Augments current and future manned surveillance and fighter platforms.
  • Industry partners will ensure platform sovereignty.

Operate in Non-Segregated Airspace

MQ-9B is the world’s only RPAS certifiable to fly in non-segregated airspace. SkyGuardian is the result of a five-year, company funded program to deliver a RPAS that meets the stringent airworthiness requirements of NATO and various civil authorities.

As part of the certification effort, MQ-9B is provisioned with a GA-ASI-developed Detect and Avoid (DAA) system. The DAA system consists of a Due Regard Radar (air-to-air radar), coupled with a Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B).

Trans-Atlantic Flight & Other Milestones

The first-ever trans-Atlantic flight of a Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) RPAS was accomplished July 2018, in commemoration of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) centenary celebration (RAF100). SkyGuardian flew from Grand Forks, North Dakota over Canada to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, UK, covering 3,760 nautical miles in 24 hours. Other recent development achievements include:

  • Demonstration of SATCOM Launch and Recovery for MQ-9B Using Expeditionary Command and Control (XC2) – December 2018
  • First Flight of the Second MQ-9B SkyGuardian – September 2018
  • Integration of MQ-9B with GPS and GALILEO Satellite Systems – June 2018
  • Conduct of successful lightning tests on MQ-9B – May 2018
  • Demonstration of Auto Takeoff and Landing Using SATCOM for MQ-9B – December 2017

Unmatched Endurance

MQ-9B set an endurance record for GA-ASI aircraft when it flew for more than 48 consecutive hours in April 2017. This is an unprecedented level of endurance which enables the MQ-9B to provide persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) around the clock with an operating cost well below most manned platforms. MQ-9B has a range of over 6,000 nautical miles and is equipped with nine hard-points for sensor or weapons carriage with over 2,100 kg (4,000 lbs.) of available payload.

SkyGuardian is capable of all-weather day/night operations. The cold weather engine start capability allows ground operations down to -41°C. MQ-9B is equipped with an Electro-expulsive De-icing system (EEDS) for wing leading edges, anti-ice heated engine inlet, heated pitot tube and static ports, and lightning protection.

MQ-9B SkyGuardian Technical Specifications

Perform over-the-horizon long-endurance, medium-altitude Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Wing Span 24m (79 ft)
Length 11.7m (38 ft)
Powerplant Honeywell TPE331-10 Turboprop
Max Gross Takeoff Weight 5670 kg (12,500 lb)
Fuel Capacity 2721 kg (6,000 lb)
Payload Capacity 2155 kg (4,750 lb) across
9 hardpoints (8 wing, 1 centerline)
363 kg internal (800 lb)
Power 45 kVA
Backup Power 2 kW
Max Altitude 40,000+ ft MSL
Max Endurance 40+ hr
Max Air Speed 210 KTAS
Max Range 6,000+ nmi
Line-of-Sight C-Band
Over-the-Horizon X-, Ku-, or Ka-Band BLOS
Backup Inmarsat SATCOM
  • High Definition EO/IR
  • GA-ASI Lynx Multi-mode Radar
  • Precision guided munitions
  • Dual VHF/UHF certified radios
  • DO-178 and DO-254 design assurance for software and avionics
  • De-ice/Anti-ice system
  • Sense and Avoid
    (TCAS/ADS-B/IFF – with provisions for Due Regard Radar)
  • STANAG 4671 compliant type certifiable design
  • All weather capable including lightning protection
  • Fatigue and damage tolerant airframe, 40,000 hour service life
  • Automatic takeoff and land
  • Fire protected engine bay
  • Other customer specific payloads
MQ-9B SeaGuardian Mission Kit: (Optional)
  • Multimode 360° Maritime Surface Search Radar
  • Automatic Information System (AIS)

SkyGuardian and the trans-Atlantic flight

Air Tattoo – SkyGuardian: Most Advanced RPAS

Spec Sheet – MQ-9B SkyGuardian