The Protector RG Mk1, a remotely piloted aircraft system, took to the skies from RAF Waddington.
According to a press release:
“The first of 16 remotely piloted Protector aircraft arrived at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire in September and is undergoing a series of rigorous trials and tests before entering the RAF fleet. Capable of operating across the world with a minimal deployed footprint and remotely piloted from RAF Waddington, it can operate at heights up to 40,000 feet with an endurance of over 30 hours.
Protector, the largest and most advanced remotely piloted aircraft flown in UK airspace, successfully taxied and flew a series of circuits around RAF Waddington airfield, at all times under the control of a pilot through its ground-based advanced cockpit. Equipped with a suite of surveillance equipment, the Protector aircraft will bring a critical global surveillance capability for the UK, all while being remotely piloted from RAF Waddington.”
Mr. Holford, Head of Remotely Piloted Air Systems for Defence Equipment and Support, was quoted as saying:
“At DE&S one of our key drivers is strengthening operations by providing cutting-edge equipment into the hands of our Armed Forces. Seeing the first UK Protector take flight on UK soil is a key moment along that journey to our goal.”
Group Captain Rutledge, RAF Programme Director for Protector, said:
“Achieving the first flight of Protector in UK Airspace is a fitting milestone for this phase of testing, representing an outstanding team effort. We will now build on this success and look forward to the next Test & Evaluation phase as part of our preparations for the In Service Date later next year.”