UV - Unmanned Vehicles

MQ-9 UAS used for firefighting efforts

20th October 2017 - 12:10 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The 163d Attack Wing of the California Air National Guard (CAANG) operating out of March Air Reserve Base is using the MQ-9 UAS in support of fire-fighting efforts in Northern California, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) announced on 16 October.

CAANG is using the MQ-9 equipped with full-motion video and ground imaging synthetic aperture radar to clearly see the fire through clouds and smoke.

The intelligence and reconnaissance sensor suite on the MQ-9 includes the Lynx multi-mode radar and EO/IR high-definition camera. This support is critical to provide firefighters on the ground with situational awareness that assists with the strategic planning and resource placement in order to contain the fires.

Brigadier General, Dana A Hessheimer of the CAANG, said: ‘The 163d Attack Wing supports citizens during the fires by operating two missions under approval from the defence secretary and the FAA.

‘The two missions are to help fire crews assess fire perimeters and to identify structures that have been lost. Through the efforts of our response team, 77,000 acres have been mapped and over 1,300 structures have been identified.’

GA-ASI is also working with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and CAL FIRE to facilitate integration of real-time data into fire-fighting operations.

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