General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ (GA-ASI’s) second MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPA (aircraft YBC02) has completed its first flight at Laguna Army Airfield in Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, the company announced on 3 October.
The second aircraft’s improved capabilities over the first aircraft include lightning protection, an upgraded avionics and software suite and a de-icing system. The new capabilities have been included as part of MQ-9B’s roadmap to become the first RPA to be certified to fly in civil airspace.
The upcoming test schedule for YBC02 includes further flight envelope expansion testing, testing of the certified redundant control module, flight controller updates and testing of the certifiable ground control station.
The MQ-9B is the latest evolution of GA-ASI’s Predator B system. GA-ASI named its baseline MQ-9B aircraft SkyGuardian and the maritime surveillance variant SeaGuardian.