MQ-9 UAS successfully used in antisubmarine demonstration
SAN DIEGO. During a recent U.S. naval exercise, an MQ-9 Predator B remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) successfully detected and tracked remotely submerged contacts; the MQ-9's contractor, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), participated in the demo of the RPA's new maritime patrol capabilities.
During the test, U.S. Navy helicopters deployed sonobuoys, while the acoustic data gathered from the sonobuoys were used to track underwater targets. The data was transmitted to the MQ-9, processed onboard, and relayed to the MQ-9’s ground control station several hundred miles away from the target area.
The MQ-9 carried GA-ASI’s Lynx multimode radar and featured its Maritime Wide-area Search (MWAS) mode, which detects maritime surface targets over a wide area with Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) for target classification. The aircraft’s electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR), high-definition full-motion video camera was onboard to support the identification of surface vessels. All of these sensor contacts, say GA-ASI officials, are correlated with the automatic identification system (AIS) to verify target identity.
GA-ASI officals say that the event successfully paired sonobuoy receiver, supplied by Ultra Electronics, and data processing technology, provided by General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada, onboard the MQ-9. This technology, they say, will provide long-range patrol and relay capabilities to the MQ-9 unmanned aerial system (UAS) to augment maritime mission sets.