Unique Capabilities of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian Reconnaissance Drone

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems recently posted key reconnaissance questions for military planners at Breakingdefense.com, “Where are hostile and allied forces operating? In what strength? Where are they heading? At what speed? With what intentions? Who else – from fishing vessels to commercial airliners – is in the area?”  It is of growing importance that our military have accurate intelligence pertaining to the large, open areas of the Western Pacific, and East and Southeast Asia. General Atomics argues that the MQ-9B SkyGuardian is a key tool that offers special benefits:

“The SeaGuardian’s versatile onboard sensors mean that it could survey what’s taking place over the border of a neighboring country from the safety of its own or from international airspace; it could observe the vessels in littoral or coastal areas to provide high-quality maritime domain awareness for the navy or coast guard. And it can then make its way over the open ocean. …With more than a day’s worth of flight time, commanders or other users can redefine their understanding of what’s taking place over a given section of water or through an important strait. The aircraft might fly a long orbit that enabled it to monitor all the vessels that passed through a given area. Or it might be assigned to follow one of interest, to learn more about it or see where it traveled.”

“High-quality sensing and long endurance aren’t the only features that make the SeaGuardian so versatile. The aircraft also carries a first-of-its-kind Detect and Avoid System, developed by GA-ASI, that enables it to integrate with the normal flow of aviation traffic like any other aircraft.”

Photos Courtesy of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. For details, please visit Breakingdefense.com.  Sponsored by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in their   # 21 - 27 - 6 NOVEMBER 2021 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN).

David distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this NREF news update was sourced. To be included in his distribution, simply send David a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.