Left: Dr. Jonny King, UK Vice President, General Atomics; Air Force Admiral Rich Barrow, RAF, Guardian Senior Senior Officer; Jeremy Quin, Minister of Defense Procurement; and Garry Hernes, Site Director f
A major milestone for British defense, “state-of-the-art” technology is being built on the Isle of Wight, meaning that Britain’s global influence will be “a huge leap in capability.”
As first reported by Isle of Wight Radio, Defense Procurement Minister Jeremy Quinn came to the Isle of Wight today (Thursday) to meet the islanders involved in the £195 million Protector project at GKN Aerospace.
About 30-40 islanders are involved in manufacturing the V-tails, a key component of the critical RAF Protector aircraft. The V-tail is the tail at the rear of the aircraft that allows it to steer itself during flight. The first of these is already in production. .
The RAF Protector is a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) that provides important surveillance capabilities, but most impressively, it can sit continuously in the target area for days rather than hours.
Being a drone, it can fly anywhere in the world from the British cockpit and can be deployed in a variety of positions.
Because they are networked, they can work with UK satellites and quickly transmit information to people making decisions on the aircraft.
According to Richard Barrow, Senior Responsible Officer, Protector Air Commodore, inside the aircraft cockpit you feel as if you are above the target area.
He told Isle of Wight Radio that “you get immersed in the scene and you really understand what’s going on.” So you have time to make a decision.
In an exclusive interview with Isle of Wight Radio, he said:
“This is state-of-the-art technology and is the first fully certified aircraft to operate freely in British and European airspace. This is a significant step forward as it previously could only operate in operational scenarios.”
“We’re going to build the crew with the team, but we can move those people in and out of the plane, so a plane floating over a target area for potentially 40 hours or two days can’t do that with manned personnel. Aircraft… On the other hand, in systems with people on the ground, we can replace crew members and support those who make a real difference to us. It doesn’t mean there are no people. People still need to be able to make decisions. It is remotely controlled and not completely uninhabited.”
Jeremy Quinn standing next to a prototype protector.
Defense Procurement Secretary Jeremy Quinn spoke exclusively to Isle of Wight Radio:
“I am delighted to come to the Isle of Wight with good news. We have put £195 million into our conservation program. This is a very important remote-controlled plane that can fly around the world and fulfill our defense needs.”
He congratulated all 30 to 40 islanders involved, Quinn added.
“It’s well worth it. Our contract was with General Atomics and they could build this tail anywhere in the world but they came here on the Isle of Wight because they know they have the capital investment and the skills. GKN is passionate about what they do. It is recognized worldwide for its technology and provides a truly important feature for RAF.”
He said he was delighted to have the GKN apprentices he met to participate in this project, which guarantees 200 jobs across the country.
Gary Hernes, site director for GKN, said in an exclusive interview with Isle of Wight Radio:
“The benefits for the island will secure jobs now and in the long term. Not only that, but we also support our RAF colleagues to carry out the missions they need to deploy.”
“I am very proud and proud of the Isle of Wight not only because it is my hometown, but also because it gives me future prosperity not only in England but also in the Isle of Wight.”
An additional 13 RAF Protectors will be created as part of the investment. As a result, the UK will have a total of 16 fleets and is expected to enter service with the RAF by 2024.
In September, Protector will be demonstrated and operational at NATO exercises. In the United States, the aircraft is currently being tested.
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