Unmanned systems developer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and Italian defense technology company Leonardo are working on the integration of the Leonardo Seaspray 7500E V2 radar into the centerline radar pod of its MQ-9B SeaGuardian remotely-piloted aircraft system (RPAS).
The two companies said the integration of ISR radar onto the SeaGuardian would enable persistent maritime ISR for the MQ-9B.
GA-ASI’s STANAG-4671 compliant MQ-9B (NATO airworthiness standard for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) already features collision-avoidance radar, a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar with inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver, and a high-definition – full-motion video sensor equipped with optical and infrared cameras. This sensor suite, augmented by automatic track correlation and anomaly-detection algorithms, enables real-time detection and identification of surface vessels.
The Seaspray 7500E V2 radar is well-suited to the SeaGuardian mission set, using active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology to detect, track and classify maritime contacts. The integration will also include an open mission systems (OMS) approach.
GA-ASI says Leonardo’s E-scan radars offer high reliability and fault tolerance that allows effective operation throughout a mission even if a number of individual radar modules fail.
The Seaspray enhances the capabilities of the MQ-9B and builds on the already close working partnership between GA-ASI and Leonardo. Earlier this year GA-ASI announced the completion of initial integration work of Leonardo’s SAGE electronic surveillance unit onto the SeaGuardian, equipping the aircraft with the ability to gather intelligence information on maritime and land-based radar emitters over a wide area.