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"Protector" is to be Certifiable Predator B

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"Protector" is to be Certifiable Predator B

Old 18th Nov 2016, 21:08
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What type of national emergency might require the use of Protector in the UK?
Not a national emergency, however I recall a GR4 was used a few years back in Wales as part of a search for a missing child (Ian Huntley case?). Protector might be more useful in this scenario.

Might also be useful for searching for survivors in a major flood.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 07:27
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Lynxman
Thanks for the reference. Surely all new purchases in the UK would have 'Certifiable' in the name chosen by the UK. Yet this name appears to originate in the USA where a UK MOD standard is not particularly relevant.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 07:47
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A slightly strange question regarding Protector in UK / international airspace as the answer could be as simple as 'all the things we do with all our other aircraft'. This would include the usual UK defence & deterrence tasks, maritime, maritime counter terrorism, UK counter terrorism, support/training of the Land component, support/training of the Air component, aircrew training, test & development and the list goes on. It could also be called upon to support civil tasks (SAR, disaster relief, counter narcotics etc) but someone will need to pay the bill.

Perhaps we have got used to the 'same-way-different-day' operations of recent years and have grown accustomed to the airspace limitations of Reaper but Protector operations will be different, more responsive and at range. For example, the platform will be capable of flying direct from the UK to Tripoli, provide ISTAR for an extended period, before transiting home. As the platform will form part of our NATO contribution it is also likely to see service on the fringes of Europe.

As a more extreme example it could launch from the UK and fly direct to NY and image a rediculous comb-over getting into a big black car.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 08:44
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Originally Posted by beardy
Lynxman
Thanks for the reference. Surely all new purchases in the UK would have 'Certifiable' in the name chosen by the UK. Yet this name appears to originate in the USA where a UK MOD standard is not particularly relevant.
Predator and Reaper were never certified to an airworthiness code, civil or military. In order for the UK to purchase more they have to be certifiable in order to comply with UK military airworthiness regulations, this also requires them to be compliant with Def Stan 00-970. As well as a General Atomics redesign to comply with the Def Stan to allow UK purchase, I would imagine they are also being redesigned to comply with MIL-STD-516C for the US military as well. The previous UK purchases were made under an Urgent Operational Requirement (now renamed to Urgent Capability Requirement (UCR)) so certification was required as a catch up in the post 'Urgent' environment.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 12:24
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An overview of the program and the UK regulatory involvement to date:

http://www.ga-asi.com/Websites/gaasi...ty_profile.pdf
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 13:19
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Contested Airspace

So the cash-strapped RAF is spending 1Billion on a Squadron of A/C that cannot be used in contested airspace. Are we getting far too focused on the current 'asymmetric' campaigns and losing sight of the 'Defence of the Realm' aspects?

KB
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 14:41
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Lynxman

Thank you.
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Old 20th Nov 2016, 09:40
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But Protector is a very cost effective way of doing the continuous ops in uncontested airspace bit, allowing Typhoon and Lightning to spend more resources on preparing for more contested operations. Its a high-low mix.
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Old 25th Jan 2020, 20:57
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https://www.defensenews.com/unmanned...ts-245m-extra/

British Defence Ministry reveals why a drone program now costs $427M extra

LONDON — The British Defence Ministry’s top civilian has identified in a letter to lawmakers the reasons why a drone acquisition program has experienced a near 40 percent hike in costs.

The Ministry of Defence decided to delay by two years the delivery of 16 General Atomic Protector RG Mk1 drones to replace the Royal Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper fleet, the letter to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee said. Stephen Lovegrove, the ministry’s permanent secretary, cited that decision as the main reason for the 325 million (U.S. $427 million) cost increase to the program, as 187 million of that could be attributed to the delay.

“The cost growth and time delay to the program imposed in July 2017 were outside of program tolerances but were the result of the need to ensure the affordability of the overall defence program,” Lovegrove wrote in his letter......

Lovegrove detailed further causes of the cost increase rise in the drone program, which was expected to cost 816 million when it was approved by the MoD in 2016. Aside from the increased costs caused by the delay, the letter said that the fall in the value of the pound against the dollar accounted for 50.8 million of the price rise, and a new primary sensor cost another 64 million. Other unspecified program costs accounted for a further 23 million.......

The pound has firmed up against the dollar a little since the Conservative Party won the general election in December, which may lessen the impact of increased costs for the moment.The new primary sensor investment involves provision of an improved electro-optical and infrared sensor. The letter said the investment was to avoid future obsolescence issues.

Consideration is still being given to the purchase of what is known as a “due regard air-to-air radar” designed for vital detect-and-avoid duties on the platform.....


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Old 25th Jan 2020, 21:47
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Originally Posted by Arcanum
Not a national emergency, however I recall a GR4 was used a few years back in Wales as part of a search for a missing child (Ian Huntley case?). Protector might be more useful in this scenario.

Might also be useful for searching for survivors in a major flood.
The April Jones murder I think.

I believe one was also used in the hunt for the oxygen thief Raoul Moat.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 07:07
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https://www.defensenews.com/global/e...neral-atomics/

UK orders first three Protector drones from General Atomics

LONDON – Britain's Ministry of Defence has signed a deal with General Atomics for the first three Protector remotely piloted air vehicles destined to equip the Royal Air Force with a replacement for its Reaper drone force.

A 65 million (U.S. $80 million) contract for three Protectors, the British version of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian was announced by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during a virtual air power conference held by the RAF July 15..... Three ground stations and other associated support equipment are also included in an initial deal that will see the first vehicle delivered to the British next year.

The initial vehicle will remain in the United States for test and evaluation until 2023, ahead of deploying to its UK base at RAF Waddington, eastern England......

The deal for Protector production includes an option on a further purchase of 13 drones...... The MoD spokesperson said consideration is also being given to an additional acquisition of drones over and above the 16 vehicles already envisaged.

A total force of more than 20 Protectors was envisaged in the Conservative government's 2015 strategic defence and security review. Now, the final numbers will likely be subject to the outcome of an integrated defense, foreign policy and security review now underway by the Conservatives.

Many people here think the already cash-strapped MoD will be a post-Covid-19 target for capability cuts as the government shifts its emphasis on defense equipment spending away from more conventional technologies into areas like space, cyber and artificial intelligence.

Protector has already been a victim of MoD financial pressures. Sir Simon Bollom, the CEO of the Defence Equipment and Support arm of the MoD, alluded to the difficulties saying in an MoD statement his organization had "overcome considerable challenges" to keep the program on track.

The vehicle was originally slated to enter service with the RAF in 2018 but that was then put back until 2021 before the new date was agreed.

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Old 16th Jul 2020, 07:25
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Originally Posted by EAP86
The CAA doesn't have the final call though does it?

EAP
The CAA has "primacy" on decisions relating to UK airspace except for national emergency and security. Routine operations doesn't fall under this caveat
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 11:25
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Interestingly the Germans cancelled an order for a UAV (Eurohawk) in 2013, paid the penalty for doing so, and took the capability hit until 2025 when they now intend operating MQ-4C Tritons. The issue would appear to have been collision avoidance in uncontrolled airspace, as here.

Luftwaffe Eurohawk cancelled?
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 14:32
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Interestingly the Germans cancelled an order for a UAV (Eurohawk) in 2013, paid the penalty for doing so, and took the capability hit until 2025 when they now intend operating MQ-4C Tritons. The issue would appear to have been collision avoidance in uncontrolled airspace, as here.
https://defence-blog.com/news/german...n-project.html

Germany to buy new spy planes as a replacement for cancelled Triton project
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 16:19
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Thanks for the update ORAC. Do we know why they cancelled Triton. Was it for VFR problems, financial, or something else I wonder?
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 16:42
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Ah, found a link off of yours ORAC. It seems that upcoming EASA Regs put the kibosh on it, as well as the cost. So is "Certifiable Predator B" an expected beneficiary of Brexit? Supposing the exit deal requires us to conform to those EASA Regs too? What then?


Germany is leaving a large drone programme for the second time

After the cancellation of Germany’s Euro Hawk programme in 2013, the German government has advanced plans to cancel its second drone programme. This programme involved the purchase of four Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton high altitude/long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

On 28 January 2020, the German government revealed not to go ahead with the MQ-4C Triton, but to buy the Special Mission Global 6000 aircraft to fulfill the role originally destined for the Triton. The main reason for this is Germany's awareness of future European airspace regulations for unmanned aircraft, which will come into effect by 2025. These new regulations will most probably limit the use of unmanned aircraft in European airspace. Germany's reservations on the subject were confirmed, when NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) fleet of MQ-4D UAVs were given tight restrictions over Europe. A secondary reason for cancelling the Triton is the highly increased cost of the programme.

In light of these developments, a manned aircraft in European airspace can (and will) be much more effectively used. The German government will have to decide soon if it wants the Global 6000 as its platform; Bombardier will soon stop its current manufacturing run of the type, as it will be phased out in favor of an upgraded version.

The exact modifications for the Global 6000 have not yet been revealed. The concept is known to have various different options for its specialized task.
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Old 21st Aug 2020, 10:23
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...syria-and-iraq

Australian pilots drafted to help fly UK drones over Syria and Iraq
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Old 22nd Aug 2020, 15:17
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Originally Posted by ORAC
https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...syria-and-iraq

Australian pilots drafted to help fly UK drones over Syria and Iraq
Australian Military Pilots and Sensors have been embedded in USAF MQ-9 Squadrons too since 2015.
They are there to retain skills / gain experience before their own aircraft are delivered.
Rather like our seedcorn cadre for Maritime did pre-P8 buy.

Surely the more contentious part of the article deals with civilian contactors now being used to fly armed RAF aircraft?
A great idea in my view that releases 7 UK Reaper crews from the rolling Launch/Recovery programme to fly as Mission Crew instead.
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Old 28th Aug 2020, 08:47
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https://www.defensenews.com/2020/08/...offs-hundreds/

Drone maker General Atomics lays off hundreds

WASHINGTON ― Privately held drone maker General Atomics, of San Diego, is laying off approximately 630 of its roughly 10,000 employees.

“General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. can confirm a reduction in force involving 6% of its workforce,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to Defense News late Wednesday. “This reduction was made to balance resources with customer requirements.”......

Over the past two decades, the Reaper has served as one of the Air Force’s workhorse drones for surveillance and for striking targets in the Middle East. But service leaders believe it is ill-suited for a war with Russia and China. In addition, they believe it costs too much time and money to keep the aircraft ready for operations in low-threat environments.

“The Reaper has been a great platform for us. Four million flight hours, just undeniable overmatch in a low-end uncontested fight, and it is certainly saving lives,” Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper told lawmakers at a House Armed Services Committee hearing this March. “But as we look to the high-end fight, we just can’t take them into the battlefield. They are easily shot down.”

In June, the Air Force issued a request for information for an MQ-9 successor, underscoring the service’s plan to transition from the Reaper to a new surveillance and strike drone.

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