UAV touchdown makes history as first unmanned trans-Atlantic flight


An aviation specialist has etched its name in the history books after successfully completing the world’s first trans-Atlantic flight with an unmanned aerial vehicle.

A Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), produced by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) made history as it became the first MALE RPA to successfully complete a trans-Atlantic flight.

The GA-ASI-owned MQ-9B SkyGuardian took off from Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA on July 10 at 12:48 pm CDT and touched down yesterday in Fairford in Gloucestershire. The flight covered 3,760 nautical miles in 24 hours 2 minutes.

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“This historic event was a demonstration of the endurance and civil airspace capability of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, and it is fitting to do this as part of the centennial celebration of the RAF,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI.

“The successful flight of the MQ-9B is the culmination of the hard work and innovation of our dedicated employees, and the strong relationships that we enjoy with the RAF, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) and our UK industry partners such as Cobham.”

Paul Armstrong, senior vice president of Cobham Aviation Services UK, said: “The SkyGuardian trans-Atlantic flight is a significant and exciting event for both GA-ASI and for the future capability of the RAF.

“Cobham is proud to have a teaming agreement with GA-ASI for logistics and maintenance services, which builds on our present support of the Reaper Ground Control Stations. We look forward to working with both GA-ASI and the RAF as the PROTECTOR RG Mk1 comes into service.”

Tags : GA-ASIReaper Ground Control StationsSkyGuardiantrans-Atlantic
Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder

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