MQ-9 shows off ASW capabilities
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has announced that its MQ-9 Predator B UAS has demonstrated the remote detection and tracking of submerged contacts, such as submarines, during a US Naval exercise.
The exercise was conducted over the Southern California Offshore Range west of San Clemente Island.
During the exercise, acoustic data gathered from sonobuoys deployed by US Navy helicopters was used to track underwater targets. The data was transmitted to the MQ-9 and processed onboard, then relayed to the MQ-9’s Ground Control Station (GCS), which was located several hundred miles away from the target area.
The event successfully paired a sonobuoy receiver supplied by Ultra Electronics with data processing technology that was provided by General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada, onboard the MQ-9.
A track solution was calculated and transmitted from the MQ-9 to the GCS through SATCOM. According to the company, this technology will provide long-range patrol and relay capabilities to the MQ-9 to augment maritime mission sets.
The MQ-9 was also equipped with GA-ASI’s Lynx multi-mode radar, featuring maritime wide-area search (MWAS) mode. The MWAS mode uses inverse synthetic aperture radar for target classification to detect maritime surface targets over a large area.
The MQ-9's EO/IR high-definition full-motion video camera supports the identification of surface vessels. To verify target identity, these sensor contacts are correlated with the Automatic Identification System. The MQ-9 can also be fitted with a centreline pod that can house a longer-range, 360-degree field of regard maritime surface search radar for enhanced surveillance over water.
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