The first set of V-tails manufactured by GKN Aerospace on the Isle of Wight has been fitted to one of 16 new Protector aircraft destined for the Royal Air Force.
According to a news release from the RAF, GKN Aerospace now manufactures the V-tails for all MQ-9B aircraft variants which are manufactured by General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems-Inc (GA-ASI) at a facility in California.
The MQ-9B aircraft will be known as Protector once it enters RAF service by mid-2024.
The RAF add that Protector will be deployed in wide-ranging Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations where its ability to fly consistently for up to 40 hours, offers the RAF vastly improved armed ISTAR capability.
Michelle Sanders, Remotely Piloted Air Systems Delivery Team Leader, was quoted as saying:
“This milestone demonstrates the continued progress being made on this important programme which will provide the RAF with a cutting-edge capability. As well as equipping the UK Armed Forces for operations now and into the future, this key programme promotes prosperity in the UK and supports highly-skilled jobs.”