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Protector drone

Flyaway

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Does anyone have an idea what exact model of drone he is referring to here, is this an upgraded Reaper or something different?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/11909488/David-Cameron-promises-to-beef-up-the-SAS-to-take-the-fight-to-Isil.html
 

TomS

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Not a lot more detail, but this story says they will come from the US.

http://m.industryweek.com/technology/drone-market-will-hit-10-billion-2024

I'd guess this is the "certifiable Reaper" that can fly in European controlled airspace.

http://www.ga-asi.com/certifiable-predator-b
 

JFC Fuller

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Running assumption is it's a UK specific Reaper, as ever with a UK Ministerial announcement we get left with as many questions as answers.
 

Grey Havoc

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A lot of the news reports seem to be assuming that the Protector is an updated MQ-9, but it could be anything really (including hand held drones!) given that Cameron routinely ah, 'exaggerates' about his 'accomplishments' in the Defence of the Realm.
 

Flyaway

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Grey Havoc said:
A lot of the news reports seem to be assuming that the Protector is an updated MQ-9, but it could be anything really (including hand held drones!) given that Cameron routinely ah, 'exaggerates' about his 'accomplishments' in the Defence of the Realm.
Well the announcement other than telling us its name & place of manufacturer tells us precisely nothing, typical political announcement especially just before a conference.
 

mrmalaya

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I'm going for Reaper ER.

Longer range, broader pod/weapon fit with brimstone and cheaper than a new buy. Is the new four bladed propellor quieter?

Protector is more suitable for how they want the mission to be perceived than Reaper.

Hopefully won't impinge on Scavenger too much, but will get the capability out there soon.
 

JFC Fuller

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It's being described as a replacement for Reaper in which case it needs the same strike capability or better, that only really leaves Reaper (or an associated family member) or Avenger as possible platforms but the latter is highly improbable.
 

Flyaway

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JFC Fuller said:
It's being described as a replacement for Reaper in which case it needs the same strike capability or better, that only really leaves Reaper (or an associated family member) or Avenger as possible platforms but the latter is highly improbable.
Agree I would be amazed if it was the Avenger, though it has been offered for export no one seems very keen so far.
 

mrmalaya

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IMHO Avenger treads on too many FCAS/Scavenger toes, both of which are not due to move to a procurement stage yet.

It's far more likely to be something that uses existing infrastructure and weapons and can be in service in months rather than years to get the maximum PR/ operational impact for the government beyond anything SDSR recommends.....

Reaper ER
 

JFC Fuller

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Whatever this is it is Scavenger, they may never use the name again but Scavenger was always the Reaper replacement.
 

mrmalaya

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Yes that may well be the case but it's a long way from Mantis, Telemos or even something FCAS derived. The plus side would be that it can be used now, and will allow a fast jet UAV to develop unhindered for contested airspace missions.
 

JFC Fuller

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Mantis/Telemos was just another MALE UAS, turning it into an actually procurement when Reaper is available would have been wasteful. FCAS is a different beast entirely.
 

mrmalaya

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Telemos made sense when the French were onboard, as soon as they went on their euromale adventure, reaper and derivatives totally made sense for the UK.

What I am saying is that, if this does turn out to be Scavenger, then it being a clearly different beast to a jet powered ISR tasked FCAS will hopefully make FCAS the thoroughbred it should be.

If they were to buy Avenger instead of Reaper, then I would feel less confident of FCAS reaching its full potential as quickly.
 

Flyaway

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I can't think what else it could be than the Predator B ER.

This local news piece certainly makes it sound a likely candidate.

http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/New-fleet-super-size-drones-manned-Lincolnshire/story-27918749-detail/story.html
 

mrmalaya

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Hmm, it seems Protector is the replacement for scavenger with a shorter timeline.

There is still no specific system linked to it, so all we have is the requirement to fly further, longer, carry more types of weaponry/kit and to be quieter.


There is no formal link with the US here:

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/protector-uav-fleet-to-replace-raf-reapers-417391/
 

Flyaway

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Can't be many platforms that will fill that requirement, though in this article they seem to be doubting it would be the upgraded Predator.

While the Reaper ER does provide the increased range that Cameron spoke of, it does not offer the improvements promised in terms of the audio signature and the sophisticated weapons and equipment.
http://www.janes.com/article/55008/uk-to-double-top-end-uav-fleet-with-new-protector-platform
 

TomS

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Several news reports are citing MoD as the source of the statement that Protector will come from the United States. That would make it some GA product, almost certainly.
 

mrmalaya

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Well the GA product line is certainly the closest to the requirement.

Hermes 900 doesn't guarantee more weapons even if it is potentially quieter, and it would be interesting to see what the quietest MALE is at the moment -it won't be Hammerhead!

Probably best not to hang on every word the PM says. I'm sure we were promised carrier based uavs in the summer.....
 

shedofdread

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Maybe the news was embargoed but I saw a presentation from GA a couple of weeks ago and nothing about this was mentioned; not even a hint. Trying to sell Guardian seemed to be the main thrust....
 

mrmalaya

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Well if the Protector is a rebadging of Scavenger as much as anything else, then it is possible we are jumping the gun looking for a specific make and model.

People talk about a Predator variant in the maritime context and we know that Ultra and GA have been working on the subhunting aspect of a Guardian purchase, so that could feed in to the idea of the U.K sticking with the GA product line.

That said, is the Predator/Reaper/Guardian line future proofed enough for a 2018 timeframe? If the system is going to replace faster platforms like Sentinal and Tornado in the counter terrorism mission, does the Reaper cut the mustard?
 

JFC Fuller

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It has apparently been confirmed at a conference today that Protector is Scavenger and its to be an enhanced Reaper able to fly in UK airspace.
 

mrmalaya

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Yes a sensible choice, given the investment already made:

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mod-reveals-reaper-derivative-will-be-chosen-for-pro-417509/

So ER, more sensors and PWIV and Brimstone will be a good start.
 

Flyaway

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mrmalaya said:
Yes a sensible choice, given the investment already made:

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mod-reveals-reaper-derivative-will-be-chosen-for-pro-417509/

So ER, more sensors and PWIV and Brimstone will be a good start.
As long as they go for the Predator B & not the block 5 version.
 

TomS

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If the conference talking point about being able to fly in UK airspace is accurate, that means Certifiable Predator B.

http://www.ga-asi.com/certifiable-predator-b
 

mrmalaya

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The timescale gives them 4-5 years to put a variant out which is certified as well as UK specific. Clearly, the 2020ish timescale won't help what is going on with IS (we hope).

I wonder how far the current Reaper fleet can bridge the gap with Brimstone/PWIV fit and sensor trials? Quasi-Protector.....
 

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http://aerosociety.com/News/Insight-Blog/3698/RAeS-helps-set-the-drone-agenda#gallery[m]/1/

Perhaps one of the biggest news stories from the first day of the conference was the UK MoD revealed that the mystery ‘Protector’ drone, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron at the weekend as a replacement for the RAF’s Reaper was, in fact, a renamed ‘Scavenger’ requirement. The announcement, ahead of the UK's SDSR defence review, had temporarily baffled defence observers, since no UAS of that name existed.

Speaking at the event, Air Commodore Peter Grinsted, Head of Unmanned Air Systems, MoD, disclosed the ‘Protector’ drones will be procured from General Atomics Aeronautical systems (GA-ASI) and are set to enter service in 2020. Though the firm configuration will not be decided until March 2016, the Protector will be an “upgraded Reaper with greater capability” said Air Cdre Grinsted. Specifically, it will be the enhanced variant of Predator B (Reaper) which has been designed to be compatible with NATO airworthiness standards – allowing it to operate in civilian airspace. This European-airspace compatible Certifiable Predator B (CPB) will also come with the extended wing and fuel tanks of the ER (Extended Range) version now entering service with the USAF, giving increased endurance of over 40 hours. First flight of the CPB variant, redesigned to meet these strict NATO RPAS standards, is expected in 2016, with a production-standard aircraft to fly in 2017.

The procurement of 20 ‘Protector’ UAVs for the MoD is not only a massive boost to the RAF’s future ‘Combat ISTAR’ capability– but also solves a key drawback of the current Reaper Block 1 fielded by the service – its inability to operate (or transit through) non-segregated airspace shared with manned aircraft. Reapers flown by the RAF today, would never fly in UK airspace. The renaming of 'Scavenger/Reaper' to 'Protector' is not without precedent – the PM having reportedly insisted that the RAF's RC-135W Rivet Joints be called 'Airseeker' in UK service.

This is important for flexibility in deploying and operations, but also for training – allowing the RAF to fly Protectors from RAF Waddington or other UK bases in the future. European certification of Protectors also means that potentially the drone could be tasked with MACA (Military Aid to Civil Authorities) missions such as assessing damage after major flooding, or protecting major events such as the Olympics or NATO summits. (It is worth noting that after the 2014 UK floods a RAF Tornado and a Sentinel R1 flew surveillance missions to map and assess damage)/
 

Flyaway

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UK selects Certifiable Predator B as Reaper replacement


The UK Ministry of Defence has decided to procure the in-development General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Certifiable Predator B unmanned air vehicle under its Protector programme. The UAV will be acquired through a foreign military sales contract with the US Department of Defense.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/uk-selects-certifiable-predator-b-as-reaper-replacem-424667/
 

Flyaway

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Certifiable Predator B nears flight test phase

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is carrying out ground tests of its newly built Certifiable Predator B unmanned air vehicle, ahead of a flight campaign at the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground throughout 2017 and 2018.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/certifiable-predator-b-nears-flight-test-phase-429474/
 

Flyaway

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RAF eyes British weapons for Protector fleet

The RAF is also considering using the CPB in a maritime patrol role to complement its ordered fleet of manned Boeing P-8 Poseidons.

Although General Atomics is developing a sonobuoy capability for the CPB, Gale says it will not pursue this option at present: “Today we see value in its radar doing maritime patrol alongside the [P-8]."

He says that it is too early to determine operational specifics, but collaboration between the Poseidon and CPB is a possibility.

Overland testing of the sonobuoy datalink is expected to take place this month, General Atomics says, from the company’s Gray Butte flight operations centre in California, using an MQ-9 Reaper owned by the manufacturer.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/raf-eyes-british-weapons-for-protector-fleet-429994/
 

RB586

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There is a good review of the UK CPB / Protector programme here: http://aerossurance.com/news/uk-certifiable-predator-b/
 

Flyaway

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US approves sale of up to 26 Protector UAVs to UK

While it has been known for some time that the CPB had been selected for the Royal Air Force’s Protector programme, numbers had until now been sketchy, with mention only of an order for “more than 20” examples of the unmanned air vehicle (UAV).

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has now approved the sale of 26 CPBs at a cost of $1 billion, which includes an initial purchase of 16 aircraft, plus options for 10 more, to replace the 10 General Atomics Block 1 Reapers that the RAF currently operates.

Additionally, 12 ground control stations could be provided – eight firm with options for four more – plus associated surveillance and communications equipment and support.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-approves-sale-of-up-to-26-protector-uavs-to-uk-431587/
 

Flyaway

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General Atomics performs first flight of next-generation Predator

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has carried out the maiden flight of its Certifiable Predator B (CPB), ahead of delivery to launch customer the UK's Royal Air Force in 2018.

Performed at the company’s Gray Butte flight operations facility in California on 17 November, the sortie kicks off a two-year qualification effort for the unmanned air vehicle.

In November, the US state department approved the sale of up to 26 CPBs worth $1 billion to the RAF, comprising 16 firm orders and 10 options.

Deliveries will begin in “late 2018”, says General Atomics, once the UAV has been declared compliant with NATO and UK airworthiness regulations.

“The first flight of our Certifiable Predator B aircraft is a major milestone in our progression towards delivering an RPA [remotely-piloted aircraft] that meets all airworthiness requirements,” says Linden Blue, General Atomics chief executive.

“The CPB is the first RPA system of its kind to be compliant with an international type-certification standard, and can therefore be more easily integrated into civil airspace operations around the world.”

Three UAVs will be used to support the qualification testing phase, with two further examples built for full-scale fatigue and static tests.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/general-atomics-performs-first-flight-of-next-genera-431957/
 

Flyaway

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UK commits development funding for Protector UAV

The UK government has committed GBP100 million (USD128 million) to the further development of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Protector unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The funding, which was announced on 4 December by the Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon, is for the development of technology including advanced imaging payloads and enhanced datalinks, as well as for the integration of MBDA Brimstone 2 missiles and Raytheon Paveway IV laser-guided bombs aboard the Protector. The Protector is the UK's name for the Certifiable Predator B (CPB).
http://www.janes.com/article/65983/uk-commits-development-funding-for-protector-uav

I noted they didn't approve any weapons sales with this and now we can see why that it's going to be fitted out with specific UK kit.
 

Flyaway

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General Atomics aims for Protector UK military certification by 2021

GA-ASI hopes to have its Protector UAV variant UK military certified by 2021
This could eventually lead to certification to fly in civil airspace and a new market for UAVs
http://www.janes.com/article/73316/general-atomics-aims-for-protector-uk-military-certification-by-2021
 

Flyaway

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UK prepares for Protector UAV

A model of the Protector UAV carrying Brimstone missiles. The Protector is essentially a variant of the Certifiable Predator B that has been adapted to fulfil UK requirements. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is preparing for the introduction into service of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Protector unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), with a dedicated team currently working through the issues in the United States.

The Protector Combined Test Team (CTT) is now co-ordinating the testing and evaluation of the Protector system, which will replace the GA-ASI MQ-9 Reaper UAV in RAF service, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) reported on 13 March.
http://www.janes.com/article/78529/uk-prepares-for-protector-uav
 

Flyaway

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Historic Flight Planned For New RAF 'Atlantic Drone'

A new RPAS ordered for the Royal Air Force will fly non-stop from the United States to RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, on 11 July.

The aircraft will be known as the Protector RG Mk.1 when it enters service in the early 2020’s.

Operated at all times by a fully qualified pilot, it's the first RPAS to be designed, built and certified against stringent NATO and UK Safety Certification standards equivalent to manned aircraft.

With a wingspan of 79ft, it can fly non-stop for more than 40 hours.

The flight from North Dakota to Gloucestershire is expected to take over 20 hours and will be the first across the Atlantic by a Medium Altitude RPAS.
https://www.forces.net/news/historic-flight-planned-new-raf-atlantic-drone
 

Flyaway

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Government highlights perilous state of UK defence aviation programmes

However, while these six projects could still be delivered with enhanced oversight and management, the IPA determined that the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Protector UAS cannot be delivered on schedule or on budget, rating it as Red (successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable. There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable.
http://www.janes.com/article/81576/government-highlights-perilous-state-of-uk-defence-aviation-programmes
 
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