Aircraft

In Pictures: Amazing Shots Of RAF's Future Protector Aircraft Flying Over UK

Speaking at RAF Waddington, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace praised the flight of the SkyGuardian as a "huge milestone".

A pre-production example of the UK's new Protector aircraft has been tested in UK skies as preparation continues for the arrival of the real thing at RAF Waddington.

The UK has ordered 16 Protector aircraft from General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI), all of which will be based at RAF Waddington, the RAF's ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) hub, in Lincolnshire.

Speaking at RAF Waddington, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace praised the flight of the SkyGuardian (which will be known as Protector when it enters RAF service) as a "huge milestone".

Protector can reach heights of 40,000 feet with a payload of up to 4,800lbs (2,177kg).

It has a wingspan of 24m and can hit 210 KTAS (Knots True Airspeed).

Cover image: The pre-production example of the UK's Protector aircraft (Picture: MOD).