Unveiled: RAF’s deadly new Protector drone is fitted with ‘game-changing technology’

Unveiled: RAF’s deadly new Protector drone is fitted with ‘game-changing technology’ that detects and avoids other planes and can remain in the air for FORTY hours

  • The new Protector drones will replace the Reaper models currently in service 
  • They will be able to stay airbourne for up to 40 hours – twice as long as Reapers 
  • They can carry 18 precision-guided Brimstone 3A missiles as well as 500lb laser-guided Paveway IV bombs for bigger targets

The next generation of RAF drones will be the first allowed to fly alongside passenger jets in civilian airspace, with ‘game-changing technology’ that detects and avoids other aircraft.

The new Protectors will replace Reaper drones, currently in service over Iraq and Syria, which have to fly in segregated airspace in which there are no other planes.

The Protectors will also be able to stay in the air for up to 40 hours – twice as long Reapers – and will be controlled anywhere in the world by pilots at RAF Waddington.

The RAF plans to have 16 Protectors by 2024, replacing the current ten Reapers as they retire from service (pictured: Protector drone)

The RAF plans to have 16 Protectors by 2024, replacing the current ten Reapers as they retire from service (pictured: Protector drone)

The new aircraft will be up to 50 per cent more deadly than the previous generation

The new aircraft will be up to 50 per cent more deadly than the previous generation

Protector RG Mk1

  • Can fly up to 40 hours, controlled via satellite link
  • Carries 18 precision-guided Brimstone 3A missiles, or laser-guided 500lb Paveway IV bombs for bigger targets
  • First large drone certified to fly in regulated airspace alongside civilian planes, due to detect-and-avoid system 
  • Anti-icing and lightning protection to operate in stormy weather
  • RAF will have 16 of the 24-metre wingspan drones by 2024

The new aircraft will be up to 50 per cent more deadly than the previous generation. They can carry 18 precision-guided Brimstone 3A missiles to target terrorists on the move – in armoured vehicles, for example – as well as 500lb laser-guided Paveway IV bombs for bigger targets.

The RAF plans to have 16 Protectors by 2024, replacing the current ten Reapers as they retire from service. The country will eventually buy 20 of the aircraft, built by the American firm General Atomics and costing millions each.

The Protectors – which can travel at 240mph at an altitude of 40,000ft – were unveiled to RAF crews for the first time during a test flight in the US last week.

The Reapers, flying missions from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, need a ground control station there. But the Protectors will be able to take off and land anywhere in the world, controlled via satellite link by the operators at RAF Waddington.

The Protectors – which can travel at 240mph at an altitude of 40,000ft – were unveiled to RAF crews for the first time during a test flight in the US last week

The Protectors – which can travel at 240mph at an altitude of 40,000ft – were unveiled to RAF crews for the first time during a test flight in the US last week

The Protectors will also be able to stay in the air for up to 40 hours – twice as long Reapers – and will be controlled anywhere in the world by pilots at RAF Waddington

The Protectors will also be able to stay in the air for up to 40 hours – twice as long Reapers – and will be controlled anywhere in the world by pilots at RAF Waddington

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