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General Atomics engages Canadian industry for SkyGuardian development


August 25, 2020
Wings Staff

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Introduced in mid-2018, Team SkyGuardian Canada is offering the MQ-9B SkyGuardian as part of its bid for Canada’s Medium-altitude, Long-range needs, outlined in the Strong, Secure, Engaged procurement program. (Photo: GA-ASI)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., based in San Diego, California, as a manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, on August 19 announced plans to further engage Canadian companies to participate in the development of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian.

MQ-9B is the next generation of GA-ASI’s multi-mission MQ-9A fleet which has achieved more than six million flight hours, with more than 900 aircraft variants delivered. The aircraft is part of the Team SkyGuardian Canada bid to meet the Medium-altitude, Long-range (MALE) requirements of the Canadian government’s current Strong, Secure, Engaged defence investment policy.

GA-ASI explains the MQ-9B features greater than 40-hour endurance, lightning protection, a de-icing system, detect-and-avoid capabilities, and all-weather, short-field self-deployment (through SATCOM controlled automatic take-off and landing). MQ-9B has also been selected by the Australian Defence Force, Royal Air Force for its Protector RG Mk1 program and, most recently, by the Belgian Ministry of Defence.

SkyGuardian wins Belgium RPAS defence contract

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Team SkyGuardian Canada was introduced in May 2018, consisting of GA-ASI, CAE Canada, MDA and L3 WESCAM. The new round of Canadian development engagement is geared toward what General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) describes as companies with aerospace capabilities, Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and autonomous technologies.

More specifically, GA-ASI is looking for Canadian expertise in the following areas: Aircraft operations and maintenance (O&M); sensor data processing; exploitation and dissemination (PED); airborne sensors/payloads; global supply chain for aircraft components and manufacturing; and research and development-related projects for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Interested companies can apply online using GA-ASI’s Strategic Industry Engagement Request Form. The registration site will remain open until September 19, 2020. Companies will be notified in October if they have been selected to participate.

“GA-ASI is always looking to build on our existing Canadian industry relationships,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “A strong North American industrial partnership contributes to the growth and success of our domestic and international endeavors. Team SkyGuardian Canada is aimed at building long-term relationships that advance Remotely Piloted Systems and Autonomous Technologies [RPS-AT] and developing sustainable jobs in Canada.”