General Atomics’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAV has flown through U.S. national airspace.
The drone flew 275 miles on a one-hour, 45-minute flight from Laguna Airfield at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, to the company’s Gray Butte flight operations facility near Palmdale, California. The flight required FAA approval to fly through various classes of nonrestricted airspace, according to a General Atomics news release.
The SkyGuardian is an internal General Atomics project to develop a Predator-like drone that can be certified by civil authorities to fly in national airspace in regions such as Europe. In addition, a weaponized version is being acquired by the Royal Air Force.