August 23, 2021 4.22 pm This story is over 33 months old

RAF Waddington gets ready for new Protector drone testing trial

A new shape coming to the Lincolnshire skies

RAF Waddington will host a SkyGuardian drone in the coming weeks as part of preparations for the arrival of the new Protector RPAS.

The Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) is similar to the new equipment which will be based at RAF Waddington from 2024.

This comes after American company General Atomics’ proposed plans for its new SkyGuardian drone to take off from the airbase near Lincoln.

The aircraft will take part in a number of capability demonstrations ahead of the arrival of the first of the 16 Protector RG Mk1s.

The Protector will replace the current Reaper drones and will be capable of being flown anywhere in the world while being operated by personnel at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, where it will enter service by mid-2024. | Photo: MoD

RAF Waddington said: “Operating the aircraft from Waddington will help us plan for the arrival of Protector and its operation from the airfield, and showcase its contribution to UK jobs and prosperity which will create over 200 jobs and reinvest £400 million back into the UK economy.”

This comes after protesters gathered outside RAF Waddington earlier this month to oppose experimental US drone flights from the airbase over the UK.

Plans from General Atomics were met with hostility by the campaigners, who stood outside the airbase with banners and signs calling for a halt to drone tests.

The flights are due to be conducted between August and September from Waddington, before moving to RAF Lossiemouth in North East Scotland until the end of October, after airspace regulators gave the flights the go-ahead in July.