SkyGuardian Takes Off from North Dakota on Trans-Atlantic Flight

Today at 12:48 p.m. CDT a Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE)
Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) produced by General Atomics Aeronautical
Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) took off from Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA on
the first-ever trans-Atlantic flight of a MALE RPA. GA-ASI’s
company-owned MQ-9B SkyGuardian is in flight, bound for Royal Air
Force (RAF) Fairford in Gloucestershire, UK, where it is scheduled to
land at approximately 6:45 p.m. local time (GMT+1) on July 11th.

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GA-ASI’s company-owned MQ-9B SkyGuardian is in flight, bound for Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford in Gloucestershire, UK, where it is scheduled to land at approximately 6:45 p.m. local time (GMT+1) on July 11th. (Photo: Business Wire)

“This is a very exciting moment in GA-ASI’s history,” said Linden Blue,
CEO, GA-ASI. “To demonstrate the long endurance of unmanned aircraft
systems, we took on the challenge of flying a MALE RPA across the
Atlantic. This effort has taken a lot of coordination and we appreciate
the support of the CAA, RIAT organization and the RAF in this endeavor.”

Over the past 10 years, the RAF has operated GA-ASI’s MQ-9 Reapers®
in various theatres of operation. The RAF is celebrating its 100-year
anniversary (RAF100), and to commemorate the event GA-ASI is flying SkyGuardian
to RAF Fairford, where the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) airshow
will be held July 13-15. SkyGuardian will be on static display
during the show. The RAF is acquiring MQ-9B for its PROTECTOR RG Mk1

MQ-9B is the new generation of GA-ASI’s multi-mission Predator®
B product line. The company named its baseline MQ-9B aircraft SkyGuardian,
and the maritime surveillance variant SeaGuardian. MQ-9B is a
“certifiable” (STANAG 4671-compliant) version of the Predator B product
line. Its development is the result of a five-year, company-funded
effort to deliver an RPA system that can meet the stringent
airworthiness type-certification requirements of various military and
civil authorities, including the UK Military Airworthiness Authority
(MAA) and the U.S. FAA.

Inmarsat Government is supporting GA-ASI’s flight with its L-band SATCOM
service, SwiftBroadband, which provides resilient, seamless
backup-connectivity throughout the duration of the flight. SkyGuardian
and its North Dakota-based ground control station are using SATCOM to
communicate with and control the aircraft, to include the command for
automatic landing at Fairford.

“Inmarsat has been servicing the demanding ‘anywhere, anytime’ nature of
airborne operations for decades, and is the market leader in providing
reliable, global, mobile L- and Ka-band connectivity,” said Kai Tang,
chief commercial officer, Inmarsat Government. “Reliable SATCOM is a
critical enabler for any mission, and this trans-Atlantic flight test
has vividly highlighted its importance. This is a truly historical event
made possible by ingenuity and impressive integration and engineering
from the GA team, and Inmarsat is very proud to be a part of it.”

The service also provides full flexibility in route selection for the
long-endurance flight, while supporting mission-critical and
time-sensitive data transmission, including imagery and video.

High-resolution photos of MQ-9B SkyGuardian are available to
qualified media outlets from the listed GA-ASI media contact. For more
information on the trans-Atlantic flight, go to

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of
General Atomics, is the leading designer and manufacturer of proven,
reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, 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. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations
and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and
support services, and develops meta-material antennas. For more
information, visit

Reaper, Predator, and Lynx are registered trademarks of General Atomics
Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

About Inmarsat Government

The U.S. government has relied on and trusted Inmarsat satellite
services since 1979. Inmarsat Government continues to deliver the
world’s most advanced global, mobile satellite communication services to
U.S. defense, intelligence, homeland security, public safety and
civilian agencies, with highly reliable, secure and affordable
connectivity. Built with government users in mind, Inmarsat Government
provides resilient, flexible capabilities to augment government
satellite resources, anytime, anywhere. Leveraging an industry-leading
scalable multiband network infrastructure, Inmarsat Government offers a
suite of managed network services and end-to-end communication solutions
to support users on land, at sea and in the air, even in the world’s
most remote regions. Headquartered in Reston, VA, Inmarsat Government is
a wholly-owned subsidiary of Inmarsat plc. For more information, please

The Inmarsat press release newsfeed and corporate updates are on @InmarsatGlobal.

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