US will hunt Russian submarines using MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones

WASHINGTON, (BM) – According to observers, drones will be used to solve the assigned tasks, which can carry out visual observation of submarines, as well as receive signals from special buoys and other sensors. Authors of the American edition of The Drive said, that the United States Marine Corps will “hunt” potential enemies for submarines, which may also include Russia, learned

Read more: Washington negotiates UAV sales with Taiwan, China protests

Journalists believe that one of the reasons for this decision by the US defense department is the increase in the number of Russian nuclear submarines on alert in the waters of the World Ocean. This is believed to have increased the burden on the US Navy and Air Force, and the Marine Corps should help with the problem. According to observers, drones will be used to solve the assigned tasks, which can carry out visual observation of submarines, as well as receive signals from special buoys and other sensors. As such drones can be used Sea Guardian – the naval version of the MQ-9 Reaper drone.

According to GA-ASI [General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc – ed.], the Sea Guardian drone is capable of monitoring surface and underwater conditions, patrolling coastal areas, and participating in anti-piracy and search and rescue operations. “The MQ-9B can operate in all weather conditions and complies with STANAG 4671 [NATO Airworthiness Certification Standard for UAVs – Ed.]”, – said representatives of GA-ASI. In addition, the drone is equipped with anti-collision radar, which allows it to be used in common with manned airspace.

The MQ-9B medium-altitude drone has been developed since the first half of the 2010s on the basis of the MQ-9 Reaper strike UAV. The basic version of the Sky Guardian can fly at speeds up to 388 km / h and at altitudes up to 14,000 meters. The time spent in the air is up to 35 hours. The device is equipped with a modular weapons control system with an open architecture – the buyers of the device will be able to launch their own missiles from it.

The MQ-9B drone is equipped with an advanced automatic take-off and landing system and an optical-electronic and infrared high-definition video reconnaissance system. In July 2018, the Sky Guardian prototype made a transatlantic flight, and in the spring of 2020, tests of the first serial device began.

The United States offered MQ-9B Sea Guardian also to India

The United States is ready to supply India with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) MQ-9B Sea Guardian, designed for marine reconnaissance. This is confirmed in a written statement released two months ago on behalf of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer following talks between US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington.

As noted in the document, the leaders of the two countries promised to “deepen cooperation in the spheres of defense and security.” At the same time, “the United States offered to India for consideration the possibility of selling Sea Guardian unmanned aerial systems,” the statement said.

US presented a successor to its popular MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance UAVs

As we reported on September 17 the General Atomics concern has presented the project of the successor to its popular MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance UAVs, which was created in response to the requirements of the US Air Force. Seeing the little usefulness of the Reaper outside of asymmetric conflicts, the American aviation wants to find a successor within a decade. The US company responded with a completely new jet wing design, which is to stay in the air “much longer than the current UAV”.

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The MQ-9A Reaper drones have been in service with the US aviation and the armed forces of many other countries for two decades, but they have evolved from the MQ-1 Predator machines and repeat their layout: a classic airframe with a push propeller and a turboshaft engine. Such machines have proven themselves in actions against various types of fighters and paramilitary groups, however, they are not very suitable for fighting an enemy with modern air defense systems.

Therefore, evolution goes in two directions. On the one hand, the MQ-1C Gray Eagle appeared, which works with the AH-64E Aapache helicopters, on the other hand, hard-to-detect drones for long-term flights at high altitude are sought.

The US Air Force decided to look for a modern reconnaissance and impact machine by writing an offer inquiry for the successor of the MQ-9A Reaper. The General Atomics proposal is to be a machine that can stay in the air for much longer than the 27 hours that the Reaper achieves, or even 72 hours, during which the Gray Eagle Extended Range can remain at the average altitude. At the same time, the machine is to be difficult to detect and have great autonomy, carrying out most of the tasks independently.

“Our emphasis on automation and autonomy capabilities comes from the understanding that the increased speed and intensity of future hostilities requires an equally flexible and intelligent set of systems – not only to enable minimized operations, but also to reduce the burden on the tactical data exchange network in disputed communication environments. Our next-generation drone will transform the battlefield of the future” said David Alexander, President of General Atomics.

The presented visualization shows another unmanned aerial vehicle in a flying wing system, with a jet engine inlet hidden on the upper surface and slotted engine outlets to lower the thermal signature. The armament will be hidden inside the fuselage, and the high aerodynamic excellence is to ensure spectacular flight durability.

Time will show how much the company will manage to achieve the announced results, based on the airframe design as well as on software and algorithms increasing its autonomy and giving the ability to solve problems without human involvement. For the US Air Force, which has been struggling with an insufficient number of unmanned aerial vehicles for years, this may even be a more important issue.

Read more: Americans predict serious losses of MQ-9 Reapers and give billions for new ones


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