General Atomics‘ aeronautical systems business has been awarded a $127.6 million contract from the U.K.’s defense ministry to build a new unmanned aircraft platform for the country’s air force.
The ministry said Sunday the company will modify its current drone technology to develop the Protector remotely piloted air system under the contract.
U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Britain’s effort to double its UAV investment will boost the air force’s firepower and intelligence gathering.
Protector will be designed to feature automated take-off-and-landing, imaging and datalink systems and is scheduled to enter service with the British air force in 2021.
The ministry also looks to arm the UAV with U.K.-made Brimstone 2 missiles and Paveway IV laser-guided bombs.