Photo Credit – D.K. Coles

Having been selected as the winner of Project AIR 7003 in November 2019, the General Atomics MQ-9B Sky Guardian armed UAS has been cancelled. As the news broke on the 1st of April, the first thought of many was that this was an April fool’s joke. Unfortunately it was confirmed as no joke, but the issue remains that this will leave a substantial hole in aerial capability, exemplified by the success of UASs being used in Ukraine. The reason for the cancelation has been cited as moving funding to more pressing needs such as personnel and cyber warfare capabilities.

The MQ-9B had been assigned the A58 prefix, however, it is unknown at this time if this prefix will be reused (it is still one of the most recently used prefixes) or retired, one of the few to have gone down this path since the Vickers Valetta (A87 – 1950s).