Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Origin: United States of America
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
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Description: The Protector is an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) system developed by General Atomics Aeronautics Systems Inc (GA-ASI) based upon the US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper. Compared with the Reaper, the Protector will feature extended range and endurance, advanced data-link and imagery technology, greater weapons load, and automated take off and landing. Besides, the new aircraft will be resilient against ice, fire and lightning. The United Kingdom (UK) Ministry of Defense (MoD) awarded GA-ASI a £100 million pound contract for the Protector development in December 2016. The new aircraft will be armed with Brimstone 2 and Paveway IV bombs. The Protector is expected to enter service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 2021.
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