General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) has announced the establishment of Team SkyGuardian Australia to deliver the MQ-9B SkyGuardian to the country, replacing the previous “Team Reaper Australia”. GA-ASI announced its intention to offer a Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) UAV to the ADF during AVALON 2017, after which, under Project Air 7003, GA-ASI was selected to provide the MQ-9B SkyGuardian. Team SkyGuardian Australia is a group of robust Australian industry partners providing a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life-cycle support capabilities, including:
- Cobham (TSGA lead industry partner)
- Raytheon Australia
- Flight Data Systems
- TAE Aerospace
- Collins Aerospace
- Sentient Vision Systems
These firms are well positioned to provide a cohesive approach for meaningful and sustainable Australian industry content with the name change made in consultation with the ADF to better reflect the capability that will be delivered.
The UK Royal Air Force recently announced its MQ-9B production contract through the UK Ministry of Defence and the Government of Belgium has given approval to negotiate the acquisition of the MQ-9B while there has been significant interest from customers throughout the world.
The MQ-9B SkyGuardian will provide much-needed protection and support to Australian Land Forces, while having considerable potential to expand support into Multi-Domain Operations through GA-ASI’s development of advanced capabilities. These include Anti-Submarine Warfare, Electronic Warfare, self-protection and Detect and Avoid systems, along with a range of advanced networking solutions. These roles suit the MQ-9B ideally for ADF future operations envisaged through the recently released 2020 Defence Strategic Update.