General Atomics invites Belgian industry to take part in MQ-9B SkyGuardian development

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is once again inviting Belgian industry to become part of the development of MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) through Blue Magic Belgium (BMB). The third annual event, set for Sept. 15-16, 2021 at DronePort’s facility in Sint-Truiden, provides an opportunity for Belgium-based businesses to present their capabilities and products to GA-ASI technical experts with the goal of expanding GA-ASI’s business-to-business cooperation with Belgian industry.

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General Atomics invites Belgian industry to take part in MQ 9B SkyGuardian development MQ-9B SkyGuardian (Picture source: General Atomics)

Following GA-ASI’s 2020 BMB event, new Research and Development projects were initiated in partnership with Hexagon’s Geospatial division and ScioTeq, adding to a growing list of projects in development with Belgian businesses working with GA-ASI on SkyGuardian development. Other Belgian businesses include AeroSimulators Group (ASG), AIRobot, ALX Systems, SABCA, Thales Belgium, ST Engineering and DronePort.

“GA-ASI encourages any Belgian companies who are interested in contributing to the advancement of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology for Belgian Defence and beyond, to review the applicant details and submit an application package,” said GA-ASI European Regional Vice President, Scott Smith.

GA-ASI is interested in meeting with Belgian companies that develop technologies and products that are applicable to UAS in the following areas:

- Cutting-Edge Engineering Technologies related to Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aircraft Systems;
- State-of-the-art Innovative Manufacturing developments related to MALE Unmanned Aircraft Systems;
- Sensor data processing, automation, utilization & distribution technology developments;
- Air Space Integration technologies and developments related to MALE Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Businesses selected will meet with GA-ASI technical experts to present their capabilities and show how they can be applied to GA-ASI’s line of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) products and services for UAS.


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 MQ-9B SkyGuardian meets NATO STANAG 4671 airworthiness requirements with lightning protection, different composite materials, and sense and avoid technology; performance changes include a 24 m wingspan that has winglets and enough fuel for a 40-hour endurance at 15,000 m. Features include High Definition EO/IR Full Motion Video sensor, De/Anti-Icing System, TCAS, and Automatic Take-Off & Land. The system also includes a completely redesigned & modernized integrated ground control station with 4 crew stations.

Last year, General Atomics won a contract to deliver four MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones to Belgium.