General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has announced its intent to certify the Predator B unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to European and NATO standards.
The Predator B, called the MQ-9 Reaper in US military service, has been sold abroad to both the United Kingdom and Italy. The aircraft is in competition for service in Germany, and rumoured to have already won a contest in France despite lack of official confirmation.
"It is imperative that we ensure airworthiness certification of Predator B both at home and abroad as coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan and nations transition mission focus to protection of the homeland and other civil uses," says General Atomics chairman Neal Blue.
UAVs are not currently allowed to fly in European airspace without significant restrictions. How European nations intend to integrate UAVs into civilian airspace remains unclear, but pressure is growing to include them for both military and civil uses. The modifications to be made are unclear, but partner RUAG will help define and implement them.
Source: Flight International