General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has completed a series of flight tests by integrating sensors onto its uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) MQ-9B SeaGuardian.

The MQ-9B UAS will be featured at the US Navy’s multinational biennial maritime exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022.

During the flight, GA-ASI’s MQ-9B aircraft was fitted with sensor payloads to test communication intelligence (COMINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT) and Link 16 capabilities.

The ELINT payload on MQ-9B UAS was provided by Sierra Nevada, while the COMINT payload was supplied by L3Harris Technologies.

The flight tests were carried out near Palmdale and Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California, US from 20 April to 9 June.

GA-ASI DoD Strategic Development vice-president Patrick Shortsleeve said: “GA-ASI is proud to be participating in the US Navy’s RIMPAC exercise.

“SeaGuardian is the ultimate uncrewed system for maritime security, with its multi-domain Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), targeting Signal Intelligence (SIGINT), and sonobuoy monitoring and control.

“The Edwards AFB test flights helped ensure and enhance the accuracy of our systems ahead of the exercise.”

RIMPAC is an international maritime exercise that will see the participation of over 150 aircraft and 40 naval vessels from across 27 partner nations.

The latest iteration of RIMPAC will be conducted in Hawaii and Southern California region from 29 June to 4 August.

The maritime version of GA-ASI’s MQ-9B SkyGuardian aircraft, MQ-9B SeaGuardian is designed to provide advanced maritime ISR and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

GA-ASI’s UAS features an automatic identification system receiver, a multi-mode maritime surface-search radar and a high-definition, full-motion video sensor with infrared and optical cameras.