General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) revealed on January 18 that it is working with Leonardo to integrate the Seaspray 7500 V2 maritime radar onto its MQ-9B SeaGuardian remotely-piloted aircraft system (RPAS).
The integration of the Leonardo-developed active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar onto the SeaGuardian will provide the RPAS with a persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. GA-ASI states that the “Seaspray 7500E V2 radar is well-suited to the SeaGuardian mission set” as it allows the platform to exploit AESA technology to detect, track and classify hundreds of maritime targets. It adds that the integration will follow an open mission systems (OMS) approach to offer customers more operational and sustainment flexibility.
In a press release, GA-ASI said: “This sensor suite, augmented by automatic track correlation and anomaly-detection algorithms, enables real-time detection and identification of surface vessels over thousands of square nautical miles.” It adds that “the Seaspray greatly enhances the capabilities of the MQ-9B and builds on the already close working partnership between GA-ASI and Leonardo.”
The SeaGuardian is the maritime variant of the firm’s new MQ-9B SkyGuardian family of unmanned platforms. The RPAS can be operated in all weather conditions and is compliant with STANAG-4671 – NATO’s airworthiness standard for unmanned aircraft systems. It is equipped with a proven collision-avoidance radar, enabling it to conduct flexible operations in civil airspace.
It also features a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with an inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an automatic identification systems (AIS) and Wescam MX-20 high-definition, full-motion sensor equipped electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) cameras.
In September 2020, GA-ASI announced that it had completed the initial integration work of Leonardo’s SAGE 750 electronic support measure (ESM) system onto the SeaGuardian. This sensor gives the RPAS an ability to gather intelligence information on both maritime- and land-based radar emitters over a wide area. “Customers will be able to choose from a wide assortment of sensors and payloads on the SeaGuardian platform, with both Seaspray and SAGE as off-the-shelf sensor options,” GA-ASI concluded.