Hexagon Geospatial, of Leuven, Belgium – a specialist in software tools for visualising location intelligence – and ScioTeq in Kortrijk – a provider of advanced visualisation solutions – have been selected by General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems, Inc., (GA-ASI) to support development of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian.

The announcement follows GA-ASI’s industry solicitation event under the banner Blue Magic Belgium (BMB) in September. Held virtually this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this second annual BMB event featured interviews and deep-dive engineering panel reviews with 18 small- to medium-sized Belgian companies that demonstrated novel or cutting-edge technologies.

We were very impressed by the many talented companies that participated in Blue Magic Belgium, and particularly by the innovative concepts presented by the two companies selected,” commented Tommy Dunehew, VP of International Strategic Development for GA-ASI. “Belgium’s decision to acquire the MQ-9B speaks to the strength of the NATO alliance, and the importance of interoperability.”

Approximately 30 companies registered for BMB, and 18 companies were selected to present their innovative technologies to a technical panel of experts from GA-ASI, which is committed to providing R&D funds to Belgian industry to focus on high-value technological development. The seed funds will be used to develop Belgian capabilities that meet MoD and industry objectives to be competitive in future European UAS programmes.

Hexagon will expand on the scope of its ongoing 2020 BMB project, and will develop additional enhancements to the auto-routing capability currently in development. ScioTeq (formerly part of Barco), is the current GA-ASI advanced displays supplier and will be awarded a project to study the feasibility of a vision-based navigation capability for UAS.

The MQ-9B SkyGuardian. (Photo: GA-ASI)

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