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MQ-9B SeaGuardian

The unique functionality of the Certifiable Predator B design allows SkyGuardian to be fitted with a maritime radar when needed to become a SeaGuardian, while the SeaGuardian radar can be removed. GA-ASI is one of the worlds leading companies in the development of sensors and sensor technology. Among its portfolio is the Lynx Multi-Mode Radar, which has been fitted to Predator A and Predator B RPAS, and also to manned platforms. Weighing less than 37 kg, Lynx delivers photographic-quality SAR imagery in a compact package.

Operating in Ku-band, Lynx provides either broad-area stripmap coverage out to a range of more than 80 km, with a high-resolution spot capability down to an exceptionally fine resolution. The radar also has a Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) mode that exploits the Doppler effect to detect and track moving vehicles out to a range of 23 km. GMTI offers arc and spot scan capabilities and can be used to cross-cue other sensors.

Lynx also contains dedicated littoral search and imaging modes including Maritime Wide Area Search (MWAS), ISAR and Maritime Moving Target Indicator (MMTI). In addition, Lynx incorporates a change detection capability that can be integrated with GA-ASIs Claw sensor payload control and analysis software.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) concluded a set of maritime test flights over the sea-lanes off the coast of Southern California on September 11th, using the MQ-9B SeaGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). This was the first MQ-9B configured for surveillance operations over open-water, and served to demonstrate MQ-9B capabilities in the maritime environment.

The SeaGuardians debut demonstrated persistent situational awareness in the maritime domain for our customers, said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. SeaGuardian is an MQ-9B SkyGuardian configured for maritime ISR mission. The Southern California test flight demonstrated how SeaGuardian can be used for a variety of maritime missions, including surface search, subsurface search, littoral surveillance, anti-piracy and search and rescue. MQ-9B is all-weather capable, and compliant with STANAG 4671 (NATO Airworthiness type-certification standard for UAS). This feature, along with its operationally proven collision-avoidance radar, enables flexible operations in civil (including ICAO) airspace.

The aircraft onboard sensors included the GA-ASI Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), a Raytheon Intelligence & Space SeaVue Expanded Mission Capability (XMC) radar, a Raytheon Intelligence & Space Multi-Spectral Targeting System, a Leonardo Electronic Support Measure (ESM)/Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) SAGE 750, a Shine Micro Automatic Identification System (AIS), an Ultra sonobuoy receiver and a General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada sonobuoy processor.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine operates a mixed fleet of Predator Bs and earlier variants of Guardians on the daily mission of protecting the borders and coastlines of the continental United States. CBP aircraft guard against a range of illegal cross-border activities, including the smuggling of people and narcotics. CBP Guardians perform a similar task along the coast, employing their multi-role maritime radar to detect and track surface activity.

In addition to this routine work, CBPs fleet has been called into use during emergencies, as requested by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Flying from Grand Forks, North Dakota, CBP aircraft have flown over hurricane and flood-hit areas in the U.S. to provide imagery and intelligence to the U.S. Geological Survey and Army Corps of Engineers. In these missions, the Lynx radar has been used in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mode to produce accurate mapping of flood extents and levee status. The CBP Predator B mapped the flooded Red River valley in Minnesota and North Dakota, as well as flying over flood-threatened areas of Illinois and Arkansas.

GA-ASI partnered with Asia Air Survey (AAS) to hold a series of validation flights for the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) featuring GA-ASI's SeaGuardian. The purpose of the flights is to validate the wide-area maritime surveillance capabilities of RPAS for carrying out JCG's missions, including search and rescue, disaster response, and maritime law enforcement. The flights ran for approximately two months and will include support from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) at its Hachinohe base in Aomori Prefecture. More information coming soon.

The biannual Exercise Joint Warrior is the largest military exercise in Europe, bringing together the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the British Army, as well as forces from other nations. For 2021 Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) asked GA-ASI to demonstrate the maturity and versatility of the MQ-9B's full maritime capability (surface surveillance and ASW) to all participating nations. The demonstration will highlight Manned-Unmanned-Teaming (MUM-T) with U.S. Navy and NATO Marine Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) to prosecute maritime ASW and ISR. Additionally, this will be the first major exercise incorporating a certifiable UAS capable of full integration into the international airspace utilizing GA's proprietary Detect and Avoid System (DAAS) for enhanced versatility.

The world's largest international maritime warfare exercise. RIMPAC is held biennially during June and July of even-numbered years from Honolulu, Hawaii. With RIMPAC the United States Indo-Pacific Command seeks to enhance interoperability among Pacific Rim armed forces, as a means of promoting stability in the region to the benefit of all participating nations. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) sponsored GA-ASI to provide MQ-9B aircraft for experimentation events in RIMPAC Exercise 2022 to demonstrate Maritime Support Capabilities. Objectives include long-range maritime surveillance and targeting, integrated assured communications and USMC-USN integrated operations.

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Page last modified: 01-07-2021 17:55:27 ZULU