PT6 Turboprop Engine Tested on MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft

Multiple full-power engine tests were carried out at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ Desert Horizon flight operations facility in El Mirage, California in July By DA Reporter / 18 Aug 2022
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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has successfully tested a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 E-Series model turboprop engine on its MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). 

Multiple full-power engine tests were carried out at GA-ASI’s Desert Horizon flight operations facility in El Mirage, California, US in July 2022.

GA-ASI has said that the PT6 E-Series is a reliable and versatile turboprop engine family that will deliver the performance characteristics required as the company continues its development of MQ-9B capabilities.

MQ-9B represents the next generation of RPA system having demonstrated airborne endurance of more than 40 hours in certain configurations, automatic takeoffs and landings under SATCOM-only control, as well as a GA-ASI developed Detect and Avoid system. Its development is the result of a company-funded effort to deliver an RPA that can meet the stringent airworthiness certification requirements of various military and civil authorities.

GA-ASI has enjoyed a long-term collaboration with Pratt & Whitney for over a decade with their turbofan engine for GA-ASI’s MQ-20 Avenger RPA.

“We’ve enjoyed a long-term relationship with Pratt & Whitney,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “Integrating their PT6 E-Series engine onto our MQ-9B SkyGuardian aircraft offers an alternate option for future customers that includes a 33% increase in power, dual channel electronic propeller and engine control system, as well as all the benefits of the PT6 engine family.”

“Our PT6 E-series is the ideal engine for this mission and we look forward to working with General Atomics on this important program,” said Jill Albertelli, president of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines.

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