General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA ASI) has received FAA special airworthiness certification in experimental category for its second MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAS, the company announced on 29 November.

The aircraft, registered as N191FP and known as YBC02, is the second to join the MQ-9B development programme. This certification permits YBC02 to conduct flight operations in national airspace as a civil aircraft.

The STANAG 4671-compliant MQ-9B has an endurance of more than 40 hours, and a design that allows for the rapid integration of new payloads using nine hardpoints. The all-weather, short-field aircraft is self-deployable through a SATCOM controlled automatic take-off and landing capability and features the Lynx multi-mode radar and a detect and avoid system. 

GA-ASI designed the MQ-9B as the next generation of the multi-mission Predator B fleet. SykGuardian’s maritime surveillance variant has been named SeaGuardian.

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