General Atomics‘ aeronautical systems business has been awardedÂ a $127.6 million contract from the U.K.’s defense ministry to build a new unmanned aircraftÂ platform for theÂ country’s air force.
The ministry said SundayÂ the companyÂ will modifyÂ its current drone technology to develop the Protector remotely piloted air system under the contract.
U.K.Â Defense Secretary Michael Fallon saidÂ Britain’s effort to double its UAV investment will boostÂ the air force’s firepower and intelligence gathering.
Protector will be designedÂ 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 withÂ U.K.-made Brimstone 2 missiles and Paveway IV laser-guided bombs.