DSEI 2021 – The second RAF Squadron to operate the new Protector RG Mk1 aircraft has been revealed as 13 Squadron.
The Squadron is currently based at RAF Waddington from where personnel operate the Reaper remotely piloted aircraft system on operations overseas.
The announcement was made by Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston today, who was speaking at DSEI 2021.
“Protector will enter RAF service in 2023 and be declared operational in 2024 as the successor to Reaper. We will have two squadrons, and we have already declared the first squadron will be 31 Squadron. I am delighted to announce that the second Protector squadron will indeed be 13 Squadron, a fitting allocation for a historic squadron, long associated with the RPAS role.
Protector represents a giant leap forward in technology and aircraft performance over its predecessor Reaper. Equipped with cutting-edge sensors, automatic take-off, landing and flight modes, and UK weapons, Protector can fly further for longer, from many more places around the world, with a much wider range of potential missions from flood monitoring, to maritime patrol, to strikes on violent extremists who would do us harm. This aircraft will enable our Government to act on a world stage within hours, at range, and precisely.
Just as with Atlas, if we treat Protector merely as an upgrade to Reaper and simply read across tactics and procedures, we will have failed to capitaliSe on what this remarkable platform offers. The technology alone is not enough remember, it’s what you do with it that matters.”
A total of 16 Protectors are on order for the RAF.