A new Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) ordered for the Royal Air Force will fly non-stop from the United States to RAF Fairford in the UK on 11 July.
The UK is the lead customer for the next-generation aircraft, which will be known as the Protector RG Mk.1 when it enters service in the early 2020’s. Operated at all times by a fully qualified pilot, Protector is the World’s first RPAS to be designed, built and certified against stringent NATO and UK Safety Certification standards equivalent to manned aircraft.
Protector is capable of supporting an array of homeland defence tasks, including Military Aid to Civil Authorities – for example search and rescue, disaster monitoring or flood prevention activities.
For the first flight across the Atlantic to succeed the RAF provided guidance, advice and supervision of UK airspace procedures.
The flight from North Dakota to Gloucestershire is likely to take over 20 hours and will be the first across the Atlantic by a Medium Altitude RPAS and the first time one has entered UK airspace under beyond line-of-sight communication control.
The Minister for Defence Procurement, Guto Bebb, said: “Protector’s first arrival in the UK is an exciting milestone in our mission to get the most advanced equipment to combat the intensifying threats that we face.
“With almost double the endurance of its predecessor and armed with the latest missiles and surveillance technology, this unmanned aircraft will not only give us a decisive advantage on the battlefield but will help us reach new heights to keep Britain safe at home and overseas.”
image © Crown Copyright
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