GA-ASI Welcomes New SkyGuardian Mission Trainer to FTTC

By General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. | July 15, 2022

SAN DIEGO – 14 July 2022 – The first MQ-9B SkyGuardian® Mission Trainer has been delivered to the Flight Test and Training Center (FTTC), a facility in Grand Forks, ND owned and operated by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI). The new Mission Trainer is designed and delivered by CAE to provide realistic synthetic mission training for both pilot and sensor operator aircrews on the GA-ASI SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). The SkyGuardian Mission Trainer will be used to train the initial UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Protector crews at Grand Forks. The RAF, in partnership with GA-ASI, will conduct training at the FTTC to learn how to operate the next generation Protector RPA system. Protector is the RAF's version of MQ-9B.

"We're thrilled to get this new mission trainer in place at the FTTC to support our customers' training needs," said Dean Gorder, director of GA-ASI's FTTC. "In addition to our customers, we'll also use the simulator to train operators for GA-ASI and affiliate companies."

The introduction of the SkyGuardian Mission Trainer, developed by GA-ASI's long-time training and simulation partner CAE, increases the FTTC's capacity by adding another organic simulator to its catalog of offerings, while reducing training costs for both internal and external customers. It features CAE's high-fidelity sensor simulation, fully interactive tactical environment and Open Geospatial Consortium Common Database architecture for interoperable and networked training capabilities. These state-of-the-art features enable GA-ASI to update its curricula and training via advanced simulation while reducing potential airspace and weather impacts.

"This Mission Trainer allows operators to maintain mission systems proficiency in a realistic and secure environment," says Lenny Genna, vice president of Mission Systems for CAE Defense & Security. "Leveraging simulation means crews continue effective training while MQ-9B aircraft assets remain mission-ready for deployment."