According to the notice published by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has requested to buy up to eighteen (18) Weapons-Ready MQ-9B, Remotely Piloted Aircraft; twenty-five (25) Raytheon Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems-D (MTS-D) EO/IR Sensors; nineteen (19) Lynx AN/APY-8 Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) with Ground Moving Target Indicator (GTMI); eighteen (18) RIOTM Communication Intelligence Systems; sixty-six (66) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigations Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Modules (SAASMs); five hundred fifteen (515) AGM-114R Hellfire Missiles… Click for the entire list of equipment.
What stands out, in our opinion, is the mention of the following equipment:
- SeaSpray 7500 maritime radars;
- SAGE 750 Electronic Surveillance Measures System;
- Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) mission kits, receivers, and acoustic processors;
- AN/SSQ-36B thermometric sonobuoys;
- AN/SSQ-53G passive sonobuoys;
- AN-SSQ-62F active sonobuoys;
- ASW acoustic operator workstations;
Thanks to the above systems, the MQ-9Bs will be able to conduct maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions. The UAV will at least be able to detect and track submarines and share their locations with assets equipped with torpedoes, such as the single Abu Dhabi-class ASW corvette or the future Gowind type corvettes of the UAE Navy.
For the record, the United States approved another possible FMS of MQ-9B SeaGuardian to Taiwan. These would conduct maritime missions for the most part. They would come equipped with SeaVue Maritime Multi-Role Patrol Radar and would provide Taiwan with “timely Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), target acquisition, and counter-land, counter-sea, and anti-submarine strike capabilitie”.