GA-ASI's MQ-9 UAS being used to help with firefighting efforts in Northern California
In support of the firefighting efforts in Northern California by CAL FIRE, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.’s (GA-ASI) MQ-9 UAS is being used by the California Air National Guard’s 163d Attack Wing operating out of March Air Reserve Base.
The UAS has full-motion video (optical and infra-red), as well as ground imaging Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) capability, which provides clear sight through both clouds and smoke.
“The 163d Attack Wing supports citizens during the fires by operating two missions under approval from the Secretary of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration,” says Brigadier General Dana A. Hessheimer.
“The two missions are to help fire crews assess fire perimeters and to identify structures that have been lost. Through the efforts of our response team, 77,000 acres have been mapped and more than 1,300 structures have been identified.”
The MQ-9’s intelligence and reconnaissance sensor suite includes the Lynx multi-mode radar and Electro-optical/Infra-red (EO/IR) high-definition camera, which provides situational awareness to firefighters on the ground.
This situational awareness helps with the strategic planning and resource placement that is key to containing the fire in Northern California.
In addition to these missions, GA-ASI is also working with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) and CAL FIRE to “facilitate integration of real-time data into fire-fighting operations.”