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

On Feb. 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 U.S. 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 SkyGuardian RPAS is interoperable with Canada’s domestic missions and its continental defence missions through NORAD, as well as with Canada’s closest allies – including the Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY) and NATO – for seamless integration with current and future Canadian defence, civil air, and ground assets.

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.

Team SkyGuardian Canada is a coalition of leading Canadian businesses – including CAE, MDA Ltd., and L3Harris Technologies – that are working with GA-ASI on MQ-9B development, delivery, and sustainment. Canada’s investments in the RPAS Project and Team SkyGuardian Canada are a direct reflection of Canada’s vested domestic interest in pursuing leading-edge RPAS technologies.

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 U.S. 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).

GA-ASI has had a long, successful, and proud history with Canadian industry that continues to grow. Nearly every system that GA-ASI has delivered throughout its more than 30-year history has contained some level of Canadian content, including sensors, propulsion equipment, and training/simulation systems and services. CAE, MDA Ltd., L3Harris, and GA-ASI are committed to delivering the world’s premier RPAS capability to Canada while creating domestic economic benefits and work opportunities.

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