Belgium and the United Kingdom will achieve cooperation on the SkyGuardian drone, which is an unmanned aircraft that both countries will acquire. To this end, Major General Frederick Fansina, Commander of the Belgian Air Component, and Air Commander Marshal Mike Wegestan, Chief of the Air Staff of the British Air Force, signed a bilateral letter of intent.
“The two parties will now focus on opportunities to work together in the areas of training, maintenance, logistical support, interoperability and capacity improvement,” the Defense Ministry said in a press release on Tuesday.
The Belgian government signed a contract to purchase four MQ-9B SkyGuardians in October 2018. The first aircraft is expected at the beginning of 2023. These are unmanned aerial vehicles, manufactured by US drone-building company General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc, which may contain Also on board weapons. The request was $ 600 million (532 million euros).
According to the Ministry of Defense, these are the first remote-guided UAVs developed, built and certified to such strict standards as those for manned aircraft. In this way, the aircraft can fly in, apparently, not separate civilian airspace.
Major General Vincina said: “This is a first and important step towards a reliable partnership between our air forces, which includes important aspects in the development of this new system.”
“The Royal Air Force and the Belgian Air Force will explore the possibilities of training, organizing maintenance and cooperation on this aircraft, which can be considered a true game-changer which, with the help of its advanced sensors and systems, can be the national NATO,” said Air Force Chief Marshal Mike Bridgestone.
In July, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced the signing of a contract to build the first three British rangers, as the drone is called, there, with an option for 13 others.