An MQ-9B SkyGuardian is over Scotland and is being flown to demonstrate its “capability in a maritime environment”.
The drone is taking part in Joint Warrior, a twice-yearly UK-led NATO exercise.
The drone has already been operating from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, for this stage of its trials process it is flying from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray.
An MQ-9B SkyGuardian is over Scotland and is being flown to demonstrate its "capability in a maritime environment". The drone is taking part in Joint Warrior, a twice-yearly UK-led NATO exercise. pic.twitter.com/0RpSwjoTAx
— George Allison (@geoallison) September 28, 2021
The aircraft is effectively a prototype for the ‘Protector’ drone. A fleet of 16 Priotector drones are to be stationed at RAF Waddington replacing the less capable Predator drone fleet. You can read more about UK plans for the type by clicking here or by clicking the link below.
The Ministry of Defence had submitted a proposal for two ‘Temporary Danger Areas’ this summer to protect Skyguardian operations at Waddington and Lossiemouth.
Details of the MoDs submission to CAA can be viewed here. Further, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has granted the request for the two temporary danger areas at both UK bases to allow the flights to take place.
The CAA said it was “satisfied that it meets the safety requirements for a large remotely piloted aircraft”.
The Ministry of Defence said:
“Whilst SkyGuardian could operate in a slightly smaller volume of airspace we are aiming to emulate the Protector flight profiles in order to see if the airspace can cater for typical Protector departure and arrivals in the manner which the RAF intends to train its crews.”