UK hosts international collaborative meetings on MQ-9B RPAS

Source: Royal Air Force (RAF)

The Royal Air Force hosted a conference at RAF Cranwell by the UK led MQ-9B (Remotely Piloted Air System) International Cooperative Programme (MICP), where significant progress was made in areas of mutual interest, including, training, provision of certification evidence, data to achieve Military Type Certification, as well as discussions related to cost-sharing on capability enhancements.


The conference brought together key stakeholders from across the globe, who have or are interested in procuring the MQ-9B platform, to discuss how they can enhance collaboration and advance the MQ-9B program.

The sessions featured productive discussions on technological advancements, operational strategies, and international partnerships vital to the success of the MQ-9B initiative. Participants included representatives from MICP partners and observers, leading defence agencies including the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) and GA-ASI, the MQ-9B manufacturer, demonstrating a unified commitment to strengthening global security through cutting-edge unmanned aerial capabilities.



NSPA, in its role as Tier 1 Third Party Enabler is to provide the necessary resources and expertise to ensure the smooth execution of the MICP activity working closely with the international teams with the aim to achieve the desired outcomes.

Key highlights from the meetings include:

  • Technology Integration: Experts exchanged insights on integrating the latest technologies into the MQ-9B platform, ensuring optimal performance and mission effectiveness.
  • Operational Best Practices: Lessons learned, and best practices were shared to enhance operational efficiency and address evolving challenges in unmanned aerial systems.
  • Strategic Alliances: The program emphasised the importance of strategic alliances between nations and organisations to foster innovation and support mutual defence objectives.

RAF Cranwell in Lincoln provided an ideal backdrop for this collaborative effort, offering a world-class venue and resources conducive to meaningful dialogue and decision-making. The support and participation of RAF Cranwell underscored the RAF & United Kingdom’s commitment to advancing defence capabilities and promoting international cooperation.


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The successful conclusion of the MQ-9B international cooperation program meetings sets the stage for ongoing advancements in unmanned aerial systems technology and cross-border defence partnerships. The momentum gained at RAF Cranwell will propel the program towards its objectives, ensuring a safer and more secure future for nations around the world.

The conference follows on from the success of the first flight of the RAF MQ-9B platform (called Protector RG Mk1) and Mojave MQ-1C Trial (a proof-of-concept Short Take off and Landing RPAS) from the UK’s HMS Prince of Wales Carrier, both of which were flown last year.

In an evolving world, developing technology together, to meet the emerging global threats brings enhanced understanding of interoperability. A common platform delivers the aspiration of being allied by design and national by exception and matches the UK’s Agile Combat Employment requirements.



The UK is investing in 16 Protector RG Mk1 (MQ-9B) for the RAF. Capable of operating anywhere in the world, RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire will be the home of the Force, the site of launch and recovery to support domestic training, and command and control for overseas operations.

New infrastructure is being built at RAF Waddington, with NSPA’s support, including a training centre for UK and international students. The centre will put the RAF’s ISTAR Force at the very forefront of cutting-edge Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) for the UK and partner nations.



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