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According to a press release published on the virtual booth of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) at the Online Edition of Euronaval 2020, International naval defense and maritime security industry exhibition, GA-ASI concluded a set of maritime test flights over the sea-lanes off the coast of Southern California on September 11th, 2020, 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.


According to a press release published on the virtual booth of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) at the Online Edition of Euronaval 2020, International naval defense and maritime security industry exhibition, GA-ASI concluded a set of maritime test flights over the sea-lanes off the coast of Southern California on September 11th, 2020, 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.


SAAB exhibits products and solutions for maritime defense IMDEX 2019 925 001MQ-9B SeaGuardian (Picture source General Atomics)


“The SeaGuardian’s debut demonstrated persistent situational awareness in the maritime domain for our customers,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. SeaGuardian is an MQ9B 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.

The SeaGuardian RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) is a naval variant of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian that can be configured to conduct maritime ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) missions. It can be configured with cross-domain capabilities for a vast range of maritime surveillance operations.

The MQ-9B Seaguardian has a length of 11.7 m and wingspans of 24 m with a maximum gross take-off weight of 5,670 kg and a fuel capacity of 2,721 kg. It can carry 363 kg of payloads in the fuselage and 1,814 kg of payloads externally. It can fly at a maximum speed of 210 knots with a maximum range of 5,000 NMI at a maximum altitude of 40,000 MSL.