Belgium-based Société Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aéronautiques is proud to announce that is has been selected by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to supply Satellite Communications (SATCOM) radomes for the MQ-9B SkyGuardian® and SeaGuardian® Remotely Piloted Aircraft. As one of GA-ASI’s team of Belgian suppliers – known as Team SkyGuardian Belgium – SABCA will be providing content for all MQ-9B aircraft. The Government of Belgium has approved Belgian Defence to negotiate the acquisition of MQ-9B to meet the nation’s RPA requirements.
“We’re pleased to have SABCA as our supplier for MQ-9B SATCOM radomes,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “This is a complex, major component of the MQ-9B airframe, subject to strict manufacturing process requirements characteristic of type-certified aircraft production. I’m confident that SABCA is up to the task.”
After being qualified by GA-ASI in 2019, SABCA has been officially awarded the production of the lightning-protected SATCOM radome for the worldwide fleet of MQ-9B. The production of the first radome will start in 2020 in SABCA’s Limburg facilities in Belgium.
“We are very proud to be part of the MQ-9B project and to add GA-ASI to our customer list,” said Thibauld Jongen, CEO of the SABCA Group. “This is a recognition of SABCA’s expertise in complex composite structure and a first concretisation of our excellent partnership with GA-ASI.”
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is acquiring the MQ-9B as part of its Protector RG Mk1 programme and is scheduled for first delivery in the early 2020s. In December, the Australian Government announced the selection of GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) under Project Air 7003.
MQ-9B development began in 2014 as a company-funded programme to deliver an RPA to meet the stringent airworthiness type-certification requirements of NATO and civil aviation authorities throughout the world. The MQ-9B is provisioned for the GA-ASI-developed Detect and Avoid System (DAAS), and is built for all-weather performance with lightning protection, damage tolerance, and a de-icing system.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than six million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.
BRUSSELS – 12 March 2020