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01:25 PM, November 30, 2018
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MQ-9B SkyGuardian drone (Image: General Atomics)

General Atomics has received a Special Airworthiness Certification in the Experimental Category from the FAA for its second MQ-9B SkyGuardian aircraft.

The company-owned Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) – registered as N191FP and known as YBC02 – joins the first SkyGuardian in support of the MQ-9B development program. This certification permits YBC02 to conduct flight operations in National Airspace (NAS) as a civil aircraft, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

“The certification helps us towards our goal of full integration of RPA into the National Airspace System [NAS],” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “It will also help us in continuing the development of MQ-9B for our customers, the Royal Air Force and Belgian Defense.”

The RPA features endurance of more than 40 hours, integration of new payloads using nine hardpoints, all-weather, short-field, self-deployment through SATCOM controlled Automatic Takeoff and Landing Capability, Lynx Multi-mode Radar and a Detect and Avoid (DAA) system.

GA-ASI designed MQ-9B as the next generation of multi-mission Predator B fleet and named its baseline MQ-9B aircraft SkyGuardian, and the maritime surveillance variant SeaGuardian. MQ-9B SkyGuardian has been selected by the United Kingdom (as part of the Royal Air Force’s PROTECTOR RG Mk1 program), and was recently announced as the sole source RPA selection by the country of Belgium.

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