General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has completed three months of Full Scale Static (FSS) testing on the wing structure of its MQ-9B unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which includes both the SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian variants.
The testing included multiple load cases to 150 percent of expected maximum flight loads, resulting in no failures. The wing was loaded using specially designed fixtures to apply a distributed load across the wingspan, simulating gust and maneuver flight conditions.
The design of the MQ-9B wing is the culmination of a large development effort from multiple areas within GA-ASI, and the success of the structural tests represents a major milestone in qualifying the MQ-9B SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian platforms to fly in non-segregated airspace. The successful tests have also established the baseline wing design for the entire MQ-9B product line, which is critical as GA-ASI begins to deliver aircraft to the multiple customers acquiring the MQ-9B platform, including the United Kingdom, Belgium and Australia.
Dee Wilson, Vice President of Engineering Research Development & Design Hardware at GA-ASI, commented: “Successful completion of FSS testing on the MQ-9B wing was a critical step in proving that our design meets stringent certification standards for structural strength and integrity. The wing performed as expected, matching analytical predictions closely. Our engineering design, stress and test teams are commended for an exceptional effort in meeting this critical milestone.”