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GA-ASI Tests Sonobuoy Dispensing System with MQ-9B SeaGuardian

San Diego March 20, 2024 Photo(s): By GA-ASI
MQ-9B SeaGuardian® Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

On February 27, 2024, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), in cooperation with the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), conducted a series of tests on GA-ASI's Sonobuoy Dispensing System (SDS) using the MQ-9B SeaGuardian® Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) on the US Navy's W-291 test range in southern California.

GA-ASI's SeaGuardian flew the full test flight event configured with the SDS pod and SeaVue multi-role radar from Raytheon, an RTX business. During the test, the SDS pod dropped eight AN/SSQ-53 and two AN/SSQ-62 sonobuoys. Upon dispensing, the sonobuoys were successfully monitored by the SeaGuardian's onboard Sonobuoy Monitoring and Control System (SMCS).

"This was a very successful demonstration of our SDS capability," said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. "The demonstration helped us prove out the SDS, which is an important component for our Anti-Submarine Warfare capability."

The SeaGuardian was flown under a NAVAIR Interim Flight Clearance. The SDS pod is fitted with an advanced pneumatic ejection system developed, designed, and manufactured by AEREA in Italy. AEREA also supplies the internal structure assembly.

MQ-9B SeaGuardian is a medium-altitude, long-endurance RPA system. Its multi-domain capabilities allow it to flex from mission to mission. SeaGuardian has been used by the US in several recent demonstrations, including Northern Edge, Integrated Battle Problem and Group Sail. The aircraft is currently being operated by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).