Taiwan to procure four MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAV from General Atomics

The Taiwanese Government has put a request to the US Department of Defense (DoD) to contract General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) to provide four of its MQ-9B SkyGuardian uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) along with two certifiable ground control stations, spares and support equipment.

To be noted, General Atomics is the original equipment manufacturer of the MQ-9B UAV, which makes this contract a sole-source acquisition.

The contract is valued at $217.6 Million, of which Taiwan’s foreign military sales funds amount to $107.4 Million that will be obligated at the time of award.

Further, the work will be performed in Poway, California and is expected to be completed 5 May 2025.

About MQ-9B UAV

MQ-9B SkyGuardian® is the next generation of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), delivering persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) around the globe.

SkyGuardian is designed to fly over the horizon via satellite for up to 40+ hours in all types of weather and safely integrate into civil airspace, enabling joint forces and civil authorities to deliver real-time situational awareness anywhere in the world—day or night.

Besides, the aircraft is outfitted with the revolutionary Lynx Multi-mode Radar, an advanced electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, automatic takeoff and landing, and features a longer wingspan than its predecessors at 79 ft (24m).

In addition to its industry-leading endurance and superior surveillance capabilities, SkyGuardian seamlessly integrates with its users’ other platforms, systems, and podded technologies, dramatically expanding the platform’s multi-domain mission sets.

Moreover, SkyGuardian can be configured to conduct a number of ISR operations, including but not limited to:

  • Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief
  • Search and Rescue
  • Law Enforcement
  • Border Enforcement
  • Defensive Counter Air
  • Airborne Early Warning
  • Electronic Warfare
  • Anti-Surface Warfare (SeaGuardian mission kit)
  • Anti-Submarine Warfare (SeaGuardian mission kit)
  • Airborne Mine Counter Measures (SeaGuardian mission kit)
  • Long-Range Strategic ISR
  • Over-the-Horizon Targeting

The UAV provides enhanced payload capacity and an open architecture system that enables the aircraft to integrate the most advanced sensor payloads for intelligence gathering, survivability, and even kinetic payloads for more complex operational environments.

Besides, it features nine hardpoints (8 wing, 1 centerline) with a max 4750 lb (2155 kg) external payload capacity.

This enables armed forces and governments to easily integrate sovereign payloads and mission systems for their own uniquely tailored solutions.