Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) for Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)

(April 21, 2021) An MQ-9 Sea Guardian unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft system flies over Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) during U.S. Pacific Fleet's Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problem (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon Renfroe).

Posted on January 18, 2023 | Completed on January 20, 2022 | By: Taylor H. Knight

What UASs can carry out an autonomous unmanned maritime ISR mission?

The Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC) was asked to search for UASs that perform ISR maritime missions. A set of parameters was given to DSIAC staff to limit the results, although this search was nonexhaustive and UASs that do not meet all parameters are included. UASs included in this report have two or more of the following parameters:  military use, produced in the United States, payload capabilities up to 50 lb, endurance minimum of 6 hr, range minimum of 230 miles, and use of heavy fuel. UASs used for maritime ISR missions are critical to the U.S. military and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to provide early warnings of enemy threats and support ongoing U.S. military and DoD missions. ISR missions can provide signals, intelligence, and electronic warfare processing, analysis, and reporting capabilities while also allowing communications between submerged maritime vehicles and a UAS.

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