GA-ASI demos ASW capability for Reaper/SeaGuardian UASs

by Gareth Jennings

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) has revealed a new anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability for its MQ-9A Reaper and MQ-9B SeaGuardian unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), with sonobuoy dispensing and remote sensing being demonstrated.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc recently completed development and test of the world’s first self-contained anti-submarine warfare capability for an unmanned aircraft system. (GA-ASI)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc recently completed development and test of the world’s first self-contained anti-submarine warfare capability for an unmanned aircraft system. (GA-ASI)

The demonstration, announced by the company on 19 January, saw an MQ-9A Reaper Block 5 unmanned aerial vehicle deploy an ‘A’ sized sonobuoy over a US Navy Pacific test range on 24 November 2020, and then process the information. “This demonstration is a first for airborne ASW. The successful completion of this testing paves the way for future development of more ASW capabilities from our MQ-9s,” GA-ASI President David Alexander was quoted as saying.

As noted by GA-ASI, the MQ-9A Reaper Block 5 successfully deployed one BT-AN/SSQ-36B Bathythermobuoy (BT), seven AN/SSQ-53G Directional Frequency Analysis and Recording (DIFAR), and two AN/SSQ-62F Directional Command Active Sonobuoy System (DICASS) sonobuoys to initiate prosecution and continuously track a MK-39 Expendable Mobile ASW Training Target (EMATT) over a three-hour period. Target track was generated using General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada’s UYS-505 sonobuoy processing system. The Reaper operators then accurately generated a target track in real time from the Laguna Flight Operations Facility located at Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona.

According to GA-ASI, the company first demonstrated a sonobuoy remote processing capability from an MQ-9A Reaper UAS in 2017. “Since then, GA-ASI has added a Sonobuoy Management & Control System (SMCS) to monitor and control deployed sonobuoys, and developed a pneumatic sonobuoy dispenser system (SDS) capable of safely carrying and deploying 10 US Navy compliant ‘A’ size, or 20 ‘G’ size, sonobuoys per pod.”

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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) has revealed a new anti-submarine warfare (ASW) ca...

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