The skies over the battlefield are about to get a whole lot more crowded and a good deal less friendly for enemy forces. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and Lockheed Martin are joining forces to equip the MQ-9B SeaGuardian drone with Net-Enabled Weapons (NEW) capability, transforming it from a tireless eye in the sky into a long-range hunter.

This isn’t simply a case of strapping missiles onto a drone. The NEW system, announced by GA-ASI last Thursday, June 27, represents a sophisticated integration effort.

By seamlessly linking with SeaGuardian’s existing sensor suite, NEW technology allows the drone to gather real-time intelligence and translate it into highly accurate targeting data for long-range weapons.

This translates to quicker “kill chains” – the time it takes to identify, track, and eliminate a target – especially in environments where enemy air defenses pose a significant threat.

Saving Lives: SeaGuardian Takes the Lead

The most significant benefit of this upgrade lies in its ability to safeguard human lives.

Traditionally, long-range targeting missions have been the domain of manned fighter jets, putting pilots at considerable risk.

With its impressive endurance, the SeaGuardian drone can now shoulder this responsibility, keeping fighter crews out of harm’s way.

“This is a very important system attribute for SeaGuardian,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander.