General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) is highlighting the capabilities of its SeaGuardian unmanned aerial system (UAS) on stand 03-C34.
Building on the pedigree of the widely sold MQ-9B medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS, the SeaGuardian is a derivative specifically optimised for persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). The company believes that a more robust ISR capability would also allow regional forces to conduct persistent ‘overwatch’ around the Bab-el-Mandeb chokepoint and the Strait of Hormuz.
With a range of 6,000-plus nautical miles, SeaGuardian boasts endurance of more than 40 hours.
“GA-ASI flew an MQ-9B for 48.2 hours on 2,721kg of fuel in May 2017,” said Jim Thomson, regional vice president of international strategic development for GA-ASI. “Providing greater endurance at lower operating cost, SeaGuardian is ideally suited to complement manned maritime patrol aircraft in performing wide-area maritime surveillance.”
Nine external hardpoints on the MQ-9B offer configurability to meet diverse mission requirements. In the basic ISR configuration, the standard SeaGuardian is equipped with an HD electro-optical/ infrared (EO/IR) sensor and a high-performance 360° multimode maritime radar to support maritime patrol and surveillance.
Capable of operating at beyond-line-of-sight ranges at altitudes more than 40,000ft and in inclement weather conditions, SeaGuardian uses EO/IR full-motion video, synthetic aperture radar imagery and ground-moving target indication outputs to identify potential threats in real time from stand-off ranges.
Furthermore, it can be equipped with a multimode maritime search radar, an inverse synthetic aperture radar capability, and an automatic identification to confer a true maritime wide-area search capability.
The MQ-9B air vehicle leverages the mature system architecture of the legacy MQ-9A and its more than two million flight hours, while incorporating enhancements that support mission capability, global industrial expertise, and its goal of achieving unfettered access to national and international airspace.