Belgium and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable close cooperation and future collaboration on their MQ-9B programmes. The signing sees the UK and Belgium become the initial Participants of the MOU which allows them to enter into detailed arrangements to work together on all programme areas, including certification and airworthiness, training, sustainment, and future capability enhancements. As the lead customer procuring the MQ-9B, to be known as the Protector RG1 in RAF service, the UK has established the MQ-9B Cooperation MOU to enable cooperation between like-minded international governments who have procured a variant of the MQ-9B.
Major General Ivan De Tender, Belgian’s Head of the Public Procurement Division, said: “This collaboration allows us to develop synergies that optimize the interoperability and support of the SkyGuardian, by creating economies of scale for all participants in various domains such as staff training, certification and development of future capabilities.”
“This agreement further cements the close relationship between the UK and Belgium and affirms our joint commitment to the strategic unity and defence of Europe and NATO,” said Air Commodore Alex Hicks, Assistant Chief of Staff Cap ISR.
The UK and Belgium have also established the MQ-9B International Cooperative Programme (MICP). Formed around the MOU, the MICP provides the processes and functionality to cooperate across certification, Airworthiness, training, sustainment and capability enhancements. The MICP Community currently comprises eight nations; Belgium and the UK as the leads with six additional nations as observers. Membership of the MICP is expected to grow as a number of like-minded nations are considering the procurement of MQ-9B. Equipped with a suite of advanced equipment and precision strike weapons, it will be able to deploy against potential adversaries around the globe.
The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (sometimes called Predator B) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) primarily for the United States Air Force (USAF). The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft (RPV/RPA) by the USAF to indicate ground control by humans. The MQ-9 is a larger, heavier, more capable aircraft than the earlier General Atomics MQ-1 Predator and can be controlled by the same ground systems. The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine (compared to the Predator’s 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine).
Belgium and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable close cooperation and future collaboration on their MQ-9B (Protector) programmes ????.
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