General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) announced on September 9 that it had integrated Leonardo’s SAGE 750 electronic support measure (ESM) system onto its MQ-9B SeaGuardian unmanned aerial system (UAS).
Integration of the SAGE 750 ESM onto the SeaGuardian was performed by GA-ASI in partnership with Leonardo. The system will support the UAS’ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission set, gathering information on maritime and terrestrial radar emitters over wide areas. It can also locate and track surface radar systems.
Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI, said: “This will be the first time that our aircraft has featured a fully-integrated, tactical ESM capability… [The] SAGE ESM will improve our customer’s ability to make tactical decisions and allow collection of ISR data on selected emitters.”
According to Leonardo, the SAGE 750 ESM has both single and multi-platform geo-location of radio frequency (RF) assets, parallel wide-band and channelised receivers, which deliver detection and electronic intelligence (ELINT) analysis instantly.
Mark Hamilton, senior vice president of Leonardo’s Electronic Warfare division, added: “SAGE is a product of Leonardo’s decades of heritage in providing world-class electronic intelligence equipment… We’re proud that our SAGE ESM will be the off-the-shelf option for the SeaGuardian, providing a unique level of situational awareness to operators.”
The MQ-9B SeaGuardian is the maritime variant of GA-ASI’s new MQ-9B SkyGuardian UAS family. It can undertake a number of maritime surveillance operations, including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, oceanic maritime security and search and rescue missions. It will also support law enforcement in tackling drug trafficking, illegal immigration and piracy. GA-ASI is also developing an airborne counter mine capability for the platform.
As with its sister variant, the SkyGuardian, the SeaGuardian is capable of carrying multiple mission payloads and employs a Detect and Avoid system to allow the platform to operate safely in both civil and contested airspace.