On November 13, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), along with EDGE, a defence equipment manufacturer based in the United Arab Emirates, announced that they had reached an agreement to incorporate EDGE smart weapons onto GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPA.
Under the deal disclosed at the Dubai Airshow, the two companies will collaborate to incorporate EDGE’s precision-guided munition (PGM) and guided-glide weapon (GGW) technologies onto GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian.
GA-ASI President David R. Alexander stated that the firm has much experience integrating home-grown capabilities onto its client platforms; however, the company has never before integrated a non-NATO weapon system into one of its RPA platforms.
This agreement marks a new chapter in US-UAE defence cooperation, as it will be the first time smart weapons developed in the UAE will be incorporated into an unmanned platform in the US. It will also open the door to additional collaboration between the two countries.
According to Hamad Al Marar, President of the Missiles & Weapons cluster for the EDGE Group, implementing the company’s smart weapons onto the MQ-9B SkyGuardian will provide the end user with several dynamic, highly precise, and cost-effective ground attack capabilities.
The DESERT STING family of ground-to-ground weapons (GGWs), the THUNDER family of cost-effective precision-guided missiles (PGMs) from HALCON, and the AL TARIQ family of modular, all-weather day/night long-range PGMs are some of the EDGE smart weapons that are designated for integration.
GA-ASI hopes its work with EDGE will pave the way for other partnerships within the UAE military sector. These agreements will allow for the integration of locally manufactured sensors and weaponry onto the MQ-9B for customers in the UAE and beyond.
The United Arab Emirates Armed Forces currently use GA-ASI’s Predator XP and are working with the United States Department of Defence and GA-ASI to purchase the MQ-9B.