General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has confirmed that the first Mission Trainer for the MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAS (unmanned aerial system) has been delivered to the company’s Flight Test and Training Center (FTTC) in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The new Mission Trainer is designed to provide realistic synthetic mission training for both pilot and sensor operator aircrews on the GA-ASI SkyGuardian, and will be used to train the initial UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Protector crews at Grand Forks. The RAF, in partnership with GA-ASI, will conduct training at the FTTC to learn how to operate the next generation Protector system, which is the RAF’s version of MQ-9B.
The introduction of the SkyGuardian Mission Trainer, developed by GA-ASI’s long-time training and simulation partner CAE, increases the FTTC’s capacity by adding another organic simulator to its catalog of offerings, while reducing training costs for both internal and external customers. It features CAE’s high-fidelity sensor simulation, fully interactive tactical environment and Open Geospatial Consortium Common Database architecture for interoperable and networked training capabilities. These state-of-the-art features enable GA-ASI to update its curricula and training via advanced simulation while reducing potential airspace and weather impacts.
Dean Gorder, director of GA-ASI’s FTTC, commented: “We’re thrilled to get this new mission trainer in place at the FTTC to support our customers’ training needs. In addition to our customers, we’ll also use the simulator to train operators for GA-ASI and affiliate companies.”
Lenny Genna, vice president of Mission Systems for CAE Defense & Security, said: “This Mission Trainer allows operators to maintain mission systems proficiency in a realistic and secure environment. Leveraging simulation means crews continue effective training while MQ-9B aircraft assets remain mission-ready for deployment.”