The SkyGuardian drone will soon be conducting trials from RAF Waddington in England and RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

RAF Waddington said in a statement:

“In the coming weeks a new shape will be seen in the skies above Lincolnshire as RAF Waddington plays host to SkyGuardian, a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) similar to the new Protector RPAS which will be based at the station from 2024.

The aircraft will take part in a number of capability demonstrations ahead of the arrival of the first of the 16 Protector RG Mk1s. Operating the aircraft from Waddington will help us plan for the arrival of Protector and its operation from the airfield, and showcase its contribution to UK jobs and prosperity which will create over 200 jobs and reinvest £400 million back into the UK economy.”

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.

SNP defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald MP has claimed that the CAA has not provided a “compelling reason why SkyGuardian can safely fly over Scottish homes yet not over Californian ones”, he was quoted as saying:

“In the face of significant pressuring being applied to the CAA to open up the skies to large drones, their first priority must always be the safety of the public and other air users.”

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.”

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99XXTSGR
99XXTSGR
1 month ago

Kinloss would seem a better bet, as it has a direct sea border and SG could operate over ISK and Fort George and Tain, all of which also have a beach.

Last edited 1 month ago by 99XXTSGR
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  99XXTSGR

So much air assets being concentrated in a few airbases. Can anyone advise on what each base has in the way of shorad to medium air defenses to protect themselves?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Morning Quentin. I think you may have asked that before, but in case I’m mistaken, nothing! Ground based Air Defence in the UK comprises Rapier FSC and Startreak in the field army ( 16 and 12 RA ) plus reserve regiments. They are for defending 3 ( UK ) Division on operations, not for defence of the home base. Though in theory of course they could, as was seen in the 2012 Olympics. The last UK based air defences were the 2 RAF Regiment Squadrons in Scotland and 4 more defending USAF bases in England. All in the Cold War… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Daniele Mandelli
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago

Good evening Daniele, yes, you’re right, good memory. I was hoping for better news. It’s not my business but it seems the UK still has a very big risk of exposure to incoming missiles and even drones with nothing to stop them across all our bases, ports as well the mainland. A glass palace syndrome which I hope nobody gets close enough to throw rocks.

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
1 month ago

Hi Danielle,

I believe that Rapier’s have (or are) being replaced with Sky Sabre – the Army’s version of Sea Ceptor which has a short but possibly medium range. Although like you said, deployed on an expeditionary posture.

Cheers, Goldilocks

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Hi G.
I know, was only considering current kit.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

GPMG in the LLAD role 😂

AV
AV
1 month ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

That’s no joke either…unless forward planned that’s as good as it gets at home bases.

TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

If a nation state attacked UK soil in that way it would probably constitute an act of war and potentially become a nuclear conflict.

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago

That doesn’t work though. As senior NATO figures once retired have often said relying on nuclear deterrent with out strong conventional doesn’t work. If Russia decided to destroy our air and sea bases at home with sneak hypersonic attack for example and kept deaths to military snd under say 5000 no British PM since Maggie and Cold War would respond with nuclear as would be non proportional. We were far safer in 1980’s when Reagan thatcher and other NATO leaders said “any” attack of any kind will result in nuclear retaliation. By leading Russian military to believe they could keep… Read more »

TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy a

I was rationalising how defence strategists might view it. I suppose they’re thinking about ‘likely threats’ and assessing the costs of putting in countermeasures in what they might consider an unlikely scenario. My own views are similar to yours. I’m not sure what the answer is, apart from spend more on defence, get better value for money on defence procurement, and have a plausible plan for a ‘peer’ conflict, which no one wants, but having an effective defence is always the best deterrent.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  99XXTSGR

ISK?

Angus
Angus
1 month ago

AD of bases is none existent as the RAF has no weapons to protect them as they were given up some years ago. No LRAAM cover other than what the USA may bring in to defend their own assets. What more needs saying?

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth
1 month ago
Reply to  Angus

16 AD in Thorney Island should soon be up to speed with Sky Sabre, and only a few hours drive, if and when needed.

https://www.army.mod.uk/news-and-events/news/2018/02/army-unveils-sky-sabre-air-defence-system/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAMM_(missile_family)

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

This is a start, more please.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

I’d read recently the roulement battery in the Falklands will soon deploy with the system.

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

Does anyone know how many systems we are buying? 1?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy a

I read on here someone said 24.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Angus

We should have produced additional SAMSON/S1850s and installed them at sites throughout the UK along with shore based Sylvar 70 cells. I guess the problem is that the systems are pretty much off the shelf and with no R&D requirement there was no opportunity for backhanders (sorry, “development funding”).

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

What would more radar achieve ? I believe we host nato/us early warning systems

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy a

Yes, we have our own radar network. Both military and civil radars feed into the system.
The U.S. radar is the Fylingdales BMEWS which is not intended to spot cruise missile attacks at low level on our bases. It is for ballistic missile tracking/detection, and space debris.

Other US BM infrastructure is at Menwith Hill.

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago

Would they not pick up fast moving cruise? I know nato has been updating radar and satellite based launch detect but not worth much if can’t pick up low level cruise. They could just put small nukes on them simalar to Israel setup and sneak them in for first strike

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy a

They would guide the surface to air missiles located in the Sylvar 70 cells.

Meirion x
Meirion x
1 month ago
Reply to  Angus

This issue has been discussed here before. It would only encourage an adversary to launch a saturation attack with thousands of missiles, of which the UK will have No way of defending against. And would need T45’s based near the Baltics to intercept the missiles in time before they reach our shores.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

St Mawgan and/or Lossie would be good places, easy departure/arrival as by coast so very limited over flight issues

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Lots of locations available.

If we want remote, there is a dedicated Danger Area in Cardigan bay, used by our MoD/QinetiQ installations at Aberporth. The airfield there carried out Watchkeeper flights.

Further north, the old DERA Llanbedr airfield is even more remote. Both those locations equally valid regards overflights and sea access apart from maybe infrastructure regards Llanbedr.

In Scotland, Macrihanish and West Freugh and Luce Bay Range, also next to the sea and used by the MoD. West Freugh was alleged to have some interesting “things” flying from there in the 90s.

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

If only we could trial the sea guardian that was developed and fit it with air defence radar. It’s been tested I think off a us carrier. I believe the slow take off speed coupled with the ramp and a head wind they should be able to operate of QW/PW if they fit a trap. I can’t see how the platform can’t be modified for this purpose. I read last week that the CIA operated U2 spyplanes of a carrier covertly to test the theory in the 60s including landing them and eventually modifying for a naval variant which had… Read more »

David A
David A
1 month ago

I guess that Stewart McDonald had two speeches laid out on his desk waiting for the announcement to be made, one reads “compelling reason why SkyGuardian can safely fly over Scottish homes yet not over Californian ones”.
The other one… “again the UK lags behind the rest of the developed world and prevents Scotland from advancing with it along with the loss of hundreds of Scottish jobs”!
For those of us that have worked with the UK CAA, we know that if there’s a reason not to approve something they will grab the chance.

Last edited 1 month ago by David A
Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
1 month ago
Reply to  David A

The obvious compelling reason why SkyGuardian is not operated over built up US regions is that there’s no need . You could hide the whole of the UK in some of the American closed airspace regions , so why bother operating anywhere else?

liam
liam
1 month ago

Is this the maritime variant?

john melling
john melling
1 month ago

This is the pre-production example being brought over and tested, helping to refine any issues needed to integrate the Protectors 👍 

Farouk
Farouk
1 month ago

Very much off topic, but here’s a video of a race between a challenger 2 and a le Clerc

https://twitter.com/geoallison/status/1430127133377056768?s=21

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

Nice one put that in the Challenger thread and that will shut one or two up 😀 

Damo
Damo
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

Cold start race. Hot start the Leclerc won by some distance

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Damo

TBF Damo it’s always been our tanks are slower, we go for armour and gun as priorities others take a different approach 😀 

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Farouk

As quoted in ‘The fall and rise of Reginald Perin’. “Never trusted the French, good tanks, 4 gears, all reverse’