Cobham Aviation Services has supported the Australian government’s selection of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian variant from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI).
The MQ-9B will provide an armed remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) to the Australian Defence Force under Project AIR 7003.
Cobham is the lead partner with GA-ASI in Team Reaper Australia, the Australian industry consortium that will deliver and support Project AIR 7003 throughout its service life.
Ryan Both, Cobham Australia chief executive, said, "Cobham welcomes the government’s investment in the MQ-9B variant of remotely piloted aircraft systems. We are proud to be a significant player with GA-ASI in the delivery of Project AIR 7003."
Cobham will provide similar through life support services to the UK Protector MQ-9B RPAS program. Cobham and GA-ASI have collaborated on the introduction of remotely piloted aircraft into Australia for more than 10 years in the lead up to this announcement.
Project AIR 7003 will provide the ADF with an armed medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) RPAS that will include aircraft and ground control stations (GCS) that will be fully inter-operable with Australia’s allies.
Each of the Reaper variants, including Australia's MQ-9B are operated from a common ground control station and are air-transportable by RAAF C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster airlifters, or independently deployable, providing Australian expeditionary forces with a highly capable, reliable and persistent close-air-support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset.
Australia is not the only nation to operate the SkyGuardian variant, with the UK Royal Air Force operating the Protector – ensuring greater levels of interoperability between the allies.
GA-ASI, an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPAS, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator RPA series and the Lynx multi-mode radar.
With more than 5 million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike.
Cobham Aviation Services is the largest provider of contract aviation services in Australia. The company conducts closed charter (fly-in, fly-out), passenger transport, freight, search and rescue, airborne surveillance and hydrographic survey operations for government, defence, airline and commercial customers.