General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), announced on 21 July that the industry team, consisting of Australian partner businesses established for development and delivery of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS for Australia, will now be called Team SkyGuardian Australia (TSGA), replacing the former designation Team Reaper Australia.
GA-ASI announced its intention to offer a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) RPAS to the Australian Defence Force (ADF)., during AVALON 2017 with the launch of Team Reaper Australia. Under Project Air 7003, GA-ASI was selected to provide the MQ-9B SkyGuardian for the ADF’s armed RPAS capability.
TSGA consists of 10 world-class Australian companies providing a range of innovative sensor, communications, manufacturing and life-cycle support capabilities: Cobham (TSGA lead industry partner), CAE, Raytheon Australia, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Quickstep, Airspeed, Collins Aerospace, Ultra and Sentient Vision Systems. The partners are well positioned to provide a cohesive approach for meaningful and sustainable Australian industry content.
The change to the Australian industry team name was made in consultation with the ADF to better reflect the RPAS capability that will be delivered. The MQ-9B is GA-ASI’s most advanced RPAS. In addition to Australia, the UK MoD recently announced an MQ-9B production contract for the RAF and the Belgian government has approved the negotiation of acquisition for the platform
SkyGuardian will provide much-needed protection and support to the ADF, while having considerable potential to expand support for multi-domain operations through the system’s advanced capabilities, including ASW, EW, self-protection and the provision of GA-ASI’s ‘Detect and Avoid’ systems, along with a range of advanced networking solutions. These roles suit the MQ-9B ideally for the ADF’s potential future operations, as envisaged in the recently-released 2020 Defence Strategic Update.
“GA-ASI is working closely with the ADF and our TSGA partners to deliver a robust armed RPAS capability to Australia that meets the operational and industry capability requirements,” said Linden Blue, company CEO.