In cooperation with British and Dutch airspace authorities, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force flew a General Atomics owned MQ-9B SeaGuardian drone from RAF Waddington across the North Sea to Leeuwarden Air Base in the Netherlands, completing a two-day series of flights between the two airspaces.

The firm say that the multi-day demonstration displayed SeaGuardian’s maritime surveillance capabilities in support of international allies.

SeaGuardian returned to RAF Waddington at the conclusion of the event.

“The flight is part of a maritime demonstration series that began in August and continues through September. The goal of the flight series is to showcase the many operational capabilities of the MQ-9B, including the platform’s advanced maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Detect and Avoid System (DAAS), industry-leading endurance, and interoperability with NATO partners.”

The RNLAF has ordered four MQ-9A RPA and the first is expected to be delivered to Leeuwarden later this year.

“Today’s flight is a major milestone for us. It demonstrates the ability of the MQ-9 to operate in our airspace and validates the procedures for air traffic control. It also familiarizes the air traffic controllers with Remotely Piloted Aircraft, which is an opportunity we have not had before,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Boudewijn Roddenhof, commander of the RNLAF’s 306 squadron, which will operate the new MQ-9A Reapers.

“We’re thrilled to showcase the game-changing capabilities of our RPA for the Royal Netherlands Air Force,” said Robert Schoeffling, vice president of International Strategic Development for GA-ASI.

“We appreciate the international cooperation we’ve received from the RAF, the RNLAF and civil aviation authorities such as the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority. Our MQ-9B series is built and equipped to meet certification standards that will allow it to fly in non-segregated airspace.”

The flight to Leeuwarden was conducted as Operational Air Traffic, under the control of British military air traffic controllers at Swanwick, up to the boundary between the UK’s and the Netherlands’ controlled airspace.

At the agreed crossing point, Dutch military air traffic controllers took responsibility for the flight.

General atomics say that next up, SeaGuardian will participate in the U.K.-led Joint Warrior exercise, which will showcase how the MQ-9B’s maritime capabilities can be integrated with other air, surface and land platforms. SeaGuardian’s maritime capability includes a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver, Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) along with the standard High-Definition, Full-Motion Video sensor equipped with optical and infrared cameras.

The flights also demonstrate GA-ASI’s revolutionary Detect and Avoid System, a safety and situational awareness enhancement designed to support MQ-9B flight in non-segregated airspace worldwide. DAAS enables MQ-9B to operate among civilian aviation traffic in the national airspace, unlike any other aircraft in its class. SeaGuardian is the maritime version of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian.

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17 hours ago

Anyone know of any plans the MOD might have to modify our Protector order so we can either supplement or swap-out some as SeaGuardian? Is this the motivation behind this trial perhaps? Can the under-slung surveillance pod be retrofitted to Protector?

17 hours ago

No mention of a landing, turnround and take-off. Wonder if it just flew over the base then returned to Waddington?

13 minutes ago
Reply to  Crabfat

Well even if it did touch and go it is useful. But yes probably did that. Could the radar on this act as an air surveillance radar as well or limited to looking down below only? Could these be a cheap version of AWACS?

21 seconds ago
Reply to  DRS

Look like not, and what is developed maybe can do something but not much detail on range and it is primarily for avoidance than monitoring: Sensor Systems – Due Regard Radar (DRR) by General Atomics … (