Belgium to order 2 General Atomics MQ-9B SkyGuardian

The Belgian government has agreed to negotiate with the United States for the purchase of two MALE drone systems. MALE means Medium Altitude Long Endurance. These are reconnaissance drones that collect information from the sky.

belgium mq 9b skyguardian uav general atomics The MQ-9B SkyGuardian (Source: General Atomics )

Steven Vandeput: "MALE drones play an increasingly important role in operations, but at the European level, there is a shortage of this type of drones. With this purchase, the Belgian Defense is committed to the future while filling a capacity deficit at the European level. Using MALE drones and keeping them operational is a complex undertaking. One of the conditions of this purchase was that our country would be able to partner with another country. "

From the information already provided, it will be likely the General Atomics MQ-9B SkyGuardian. GA-ASI has developed a variant of the Predator® B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) that will meet NATO standards (STANAG-4671), and in cooperation with the FAA, will subsequently meet airworthiness certification standards domestically and around the world. It leverages both the Predator B RPA and advanced Cockpit Ground Control Station (GCS) as points of departure systems and identifies and incorporates the changes needed to achieve a "Type-Certifiable" system.

MQ-9B is highly modular and is easily configured with a variety of payloads to meet mission requirements. The aircraft is capable of carrying multiple mission payloads and includes a state-of-the art Detect and Avoid (DAA) system including space, weight, and power provisions to enable the retrofitting of an airborne Due Regard Radar (DRR) for operation in non-cooperative airspace. The SkyGuardian can fly up to 40 hours at 15,000 M.

Cooperation with a partner country guarantees economies of scale in terms of equipment, maintenance, training and operations. Since MALE drones will be mainly engaged in EU and NATO operations, a partnership will be sought with an EU or NATO member country. With these decisions, the government shows that it believes in a strong Belgian Defense and wishes to continue to invest in it. In the spirit of the Strategic Vision, it gives the department the means to properly carry out its missions in the short and long term.