General Atomics Aeronautical - 2021 European Maritime Demos

2021 European Maritime Demos

GA-ASI is sending its MQ-9B SeaGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) to the United Kingdom and Netherlands this summer to complete a series of operational capability demonstrations and participate in Exercise Joint Warrior, which will demonstrate the platform's advanced maritime surveillance capability, Detect and Avoid System (DAAS), industry-leading endurance and assured interoperability. These demonstrations are in collaboration with the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF).

SeaGuardian is a variant of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, which includes a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar, an Automatic Identification System receiver, a High-Definition Electro-Optical/Infrared sensor, and DAAS. The MQ-9B prototype will demonstrate the capabilities of the RAF's Protector aircraft with a maritime mission kit. This will build on earlier GA-ASI demonstrations showcasing the unmanned advantage, which includes the transatlantic flight of MQ-9B SkyGuardian in 2018, maritime demonstrations in Greece in 2019 and last year's validation flights in Japan, featuring SeaGuardian.

This series of civilian and military capability events will kick off this summer at RAF Waddington and will culminate with SeaGuardian's participation in the UK-led Joint Warrior exercise that will display how maritime capabilities integrate with other air, surface and land platforms. SeaGuardian's flights will further demonstrate GA-ASI's revolutionary DAAS, which is a safety and situational awareness enhancement designed to support Protector's flight in non-segregated UK airspace as well as the platform's capability to integrate into broader European airspace. The flights will also assist RAF Waddington, the future home of the RAF Protector Force, to prepare and integrate the new aircraft into its daily operations.

MQ-9B represents the next generation of RPAS, having demonstrated airborne endurance of more than 40 hours, automatic takeoffs and landings under SATCOM-only control, and GA's proprietary DAAS. Its development is the result of a company-funded effort to deliver a RPAS that can meet the stringent airworthiness certification requirements of global military and civil authorities.


SkyGuardian to the UK (SG2UK21)

The Protector prototype will be used by our RAF hosts to demonstrate and become more acquainted with the platform's unmatched capabilities over land and sea in support of civilian authorities and the Royal Navy. The RAF and GA-ASI will be working with the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services (NATS) to prepare and authorize the platform for operations in non-segregated airspace. The RPAS will be operated by highly-skilled GA-ASI pilots, supported by qualified RAF personnel and will operate within CAA regulations just like any other aircraft in UK airspace. Operating in the UK will also assist in the development of the Detect and Avoid technology which will enable Protector to become the first MALE RPAS in the world to be certified to fly in non-segregated airspace.


RNLAF 306 Squadron Demo

While based out of RAF Waddington, MQ-9B SeaGuardian will fly across the North Sea into Netherlands airspace to further demonstrate the MQ-9B's proven ability to integrate into European airspace. This demonstration, in collaboration with the RNLAF 306 Squadron and the RAF, will also display SeaGuardian's maritime surveillance capabilities in support of international allies.


Exercise Joint Warrior

The biannual Exercise Joint Warrior is the largest military exercise in Europe, bringing together the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the British Army, as well as forces from other nations.

Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) has asked GA-ASI to demonstrate the maturity and versatility of the MQ-9B's full maritime capability (surface surveillance and ASW) to all participating nations. The demonstration will highlight Manned-Unmanned-Teaming (MUM-T) with U.S. Navy and NATO Marine Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) to support anti-submarine warfare and maritime surveillance operations. Additionally, this will be the first major exercise incorporating a certifiable RPAS capable of full integration into the international airspace utilizing GA's DAAS for enhanced versatility.


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