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General Atomics’ MQ-9A Block 5 Drone Demonstrated at Pacific Fleet Event; J.R. Reid Quoted

UxS IBP 21 exercise Image from Navy
UxS IBP 21 exercise, Image from Navy

General Atomics' aeronautical systems unit took part in an exercise where U.S. Pacific Fleet demonstrated the integrated use of unmanned platforms with other manned naval systems.

The company said Wednesday its MQ-9A Block 5 unmanned aircraft system showcased its ability to connect with U.S. Navy ships and traditional jets during Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem ‘21.

MQ-9A Block 5 communicated with P-8 Poseidon and MH-60R Seahawk aircraft through the Automatic Identification System, and exchanged information through the Link 16 data link.

The UAS also exhibited anti-submarine warfare, having dropped a sonobuoy from high altitude during the exercise. The MQ-9's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance-centric role has been expanded to include ASW, as demonstrated in the event.

General Atomics brought MQ-9A Block 5 to the exercise as a surrogate for the MQ-9B SeaGuardian, which is designed for expeditionary missions in austere environments.

J.R. Reid, vice president for Department of Defense strategic development at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., said the company looks forward to developing more technologies that support warfighters in both domestic and overseas operations.

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