The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) and General Atomics struck a deal to overhaul the former’s remotely piloted Protector RG MK1 fleet. The deal involves fitting critical detect-and-avoid technology to the Protector RG MK1 fleet. Once the deal completes, the reaper fleet of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force will be passé.
The contract is yet to be announce officially. Nevertheless, the capability will be part of the upgrades in the near future. Detect-and-avoid technology is important for safety of flight in civilian airspace.
The details were revealed at a recent event of General Atomics. The event was for to declare three more British companies supporting Protector development. Following this, Protector Aircraft will be the world’s first remotely-operated vehicle to have the certification to fly in non-segregated airspace.
RAF’s deal aimed to Enhance Strategic and Security Capability
The British Royal Air Force ordered 16 new Protector remotely-operated vehicles and some ground stations back in 2016. In addition, the Royal Air Force could order some 10 more vehicles, as per the deal details for U.S. congressional approval. The deal is to meet the RAF’s 2015 Strategic Defense and Security commitment of over 20 Protector aircraft.
In terms of drone capability, the Protector serves to be a quantum leap over the current Reaper fleet of RAF. Furthermore, the Protector fleet holds sway over Reaper for longer flying hours, and to be able to fly in civilian airspace.
Meanwhile, at the industry event, General Atomics announced a memorandum of agreement with BAE Systems to support the development of Protector vehicles.