MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAS participates in RIMPAC exercise


According to a press release published by General Atomics on July 29, 2022, an MQ-9B SeaGuardian® Unmanned Aircraft System from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is under contract with the U.S. Navy to support the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 exercise.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAS on a US aircraft carrier (Picture source: GA-ASI)


RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime exercise, started in late June and continues until early August in Hawaii and Southern California operations areas.

GA-ASI’s SeaGuardian is a maritime derivative of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian® and remains the first UAS that offers multi-domain Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Targeting (ISR&T) as an internal payload that can search the ocean surface and the depths in support of Fleet Operations.

The UAS is also providing real-time ISR data feeds to the U.S. Pacific Fleet Command Center using Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) parametric and full-motion video to the watch floor and intelligence centers for real-time, dynamic tasking.

As of July 25, 2022, 11 flights totaling over 80 hours have been flown by SeaGuardian showcasing all operational payloads, which includes Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Communication Intelligence (COMINT), Automatic Identification System (AIS), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) monitor and control of sonobuoys, GA-ASI developed Lynx® Multi-mode Maritime Radar, high-definition Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) imaging system and Link 16.

SeaGuardian’s multi-domain capabilities allow it to flex from mission to mission and pass real-time sensor data directly to the Fleet through Link 16 and satellite feeds to the shore-based command and intelligence centers.

During RIMPAC, the MQ-9B has effectively passed ISR&T information to various surface and air units, such as the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Guided Missile Destroyers, Littoral Combat Ships, frigates, patrol boats, P-8s, P-3s and a litany of other U.S. and foreign units taking part in the exercise.

The MQ-9B Seaguardian has a length of 11.7 meters and wingspans of 24 meters 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.


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