At UMEX 2022 unmanned defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi, UAE, American company General Atomics Aeronautical (GA-ASI) displays its SeaGuardian which is the maritime version of the MQ-9B, an unmanned aerial system (UAS) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) primarily for the United States Air Force (USAF).
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General Atomics Aeronautical displays its SeaGurdian maritime UAV at UMEX 2022 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Picture source: Army Recognition)
The SeaGuardian is configured to conduct surveillance operations over open-water, and served to demonstrate MQ-9B capabilities in the maritime environment. It can be used to perform a wide range of missions including anti-submarine warfare, airborne early warning, long-range range search-and-rescue, missile defense, and communication gateway and relay.
Recently, General Atomics Aeronautical completed a series of flight demonstrations with its MQ-9B SeaGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) in partnership with the British Royal Air Force. The flights showcased the many operational capabilities of the MQ-9B, including the platform’s advanced maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Detect and Avoid System (DAAS), industry-leading endurance, and interoperability with NATO partners. During Joint Warrior, a demonstration of Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) took place using the SeaGuardian and an RAF P-8, showing SeaGuardian’s ability to complement and support Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) tasking, which included tracking, monitoring, and reporting of sonobuoys.
The SeaGuardian has a fuselage with a length of 11.7 m and a wingspan of 24 m. Its fuselage structure is designed to minimize the radar cross-section. It features two vertical tail fins, arranged in a V shape. The UAV is powered by a single Honeywell TPE331-10 Turboprop engine. It has a maximum take-off weight of 5,670 kg and has a payload capacity of 2,155 kg on 9 external hardpoints and 363 kg on the internal bay.
To take off and land the SeaGuardian is equipped with tricycle landing gear, with two main wheels under the fuselage and one single wheel under the nose.
The SeaGuardian can fly at a maximum speed of 390 km/h at a maximum altitude of 12,200 m and an endurance of up to 30 hours. This drone has a cruising range of up to 9,260 km depending on the configuration.