First aircraft of its kind designed with wheels up and up certified for use in mixed national airspace – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense

The perception of the maritime domain in and around the Arabian Gulf is not just important for the responsible powers in the region – its implications are relevant everywhere in the world.

That is why advanced militaries across the Middle East and North Africa are looking for unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAS) for their maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) missions and opting for them. Best and newest system: MQ-9B SeaGuardian.

The MQ-9B SeaGuardian transforms the depth and breadth of a user’s understanding of what’s happening above, above, or below the surface of the water with unparalleled durability, breaking the limitations of comparable manned systems. , allowing for real persistence in the maritime role

In response to the strong regional and global interest, a working MQ-9B aircraft – not a miniature or replica – will be on display at the Unmanned Systems Show, UMEX, in Abu Dhabi in February.

Visitors will see an aircraft that is instantly familiar, due to all the things it shares in common with the previously well-proven MQ-9 Reaper and its brothers, but also packed capabilities. critical to making it the backbone of combat forces around the world as the UAS role-leading multirole aircraft in its class.

New planes, new abilities

The SeaGuardian is not only larger, but also has greater durability, range, and load capacity. Its built-in equipment also sets it apart from every other UAS.

The MQ-9B is the first aircraft of its kind to be designed from the wheel up to be certified for use in mixed national airspace. Operators can seamlessly integrate with other commercial or air traffic, rather than needing special corridors, aircraft chases or other arrangements. That means they can simply “file and fly,” as the pilots say, opening up huge flexibility in terms of where and when they operate.

The first Detect and Avoid System, located at the nose of the MQ-9B, is part of this. The sensors and equipment it contains allow the aircraft and its remote controller to see the sky around it like a traditional aircraft, keeping other traffic safe.

The SeaGuardian’s versatility means it can be flown easier, more often and more usefully than anything else before, allowing for maneuverability and taking the aircraft into frequent real-world missions. more often.

Highly sensitive electro-optical and infrared video sensors provide clear images at any time of day or night. The aircraft’s multimode radar allows for even higher quality sensing at range and in a variety of difficult conditions, including through smoke or fog. The capabilities of the reverse synthetic aperture radar make the system ideal for use at sea.

And when the SeaGuardian is equipped with a 360-degree maritime search radar, carried underneath the aircraft, it provides even greater awareness of surface activity.

However, the MQ-9B’s maritime capabilities don’t stop at the surface. Its American manufacturer, based in San Diego General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., has also demonstrated the ability to launch sonobuoys while simultaneously integrating with other navies, significantly expanding the waters that combatants can search. The SeaGuardian is the only UAS of its kind currently able to help hunt for submarines.

Mission app

There’s no end to how operators can adopt all this convenience.

One of the most valuable is with its always-on capability: SeaGuardian’s approximately 30-hour endurance means users almost never have to interrupt communication with targets of interest or stop observing. important areas. Teamwork aircraft provides near-relentless situational awareness.

That means it is very difficult for the enemy to resist large forces or act without being observed. Even a small vessel that does not broadcast on an Automated Maritime Communication System is not immune to being detected from the air, identified and tracked if necessary. If vessels meet at sea to exchange contraband – such as weapons or oil in violation of international sanctions – they cannot escape SeaGuardian.

And as several international exercises and demonstrations have demonstrated, the MQ-9B is a multiplier when it comes to serving as part of a larger networked multi-domain operation concept. The aircraft have proven they can track submerged or surface targets for the US Navy, enhancing the overall operational picture for international navies led by the Royal Navy and beyond. again.

Protests in the Mediterranean Sea and off the coast of Japan have also proven time and time again that SeaGuardian is a game changer when it comes to supporting navies, coast guard, customs enforcement, lifesaving and other operations.

These qualities have prompted an increasing number of governments to purchase the MQ-9B, including the UK, Belgium, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and more. The SeaGuardian’s static display at UMEX was in response to the strong interest in the aircraft and to provide an opportunity for government and military leaders to visit Abu Dhabi to witness it first-hand. First aircraft of its kind designed with wheels up and up certified for use in mixed national airspace – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense

Jake Nichol

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