The Navy's New BAMS Drone Sees Everything That's Happening In The Persian Gulf [Presentation]

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Photo: Northrop Grumman

While visiting the Persian Gulf last month for an international mine clearing exercise it was mentioned that the whole area was under constant surveillance by a Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) drone. A A Twitter follower of The AviationistDavid Cenciotti, points out it was likely the BAMS-D, the demonstrator model in service since 2008 Check out the BAMS drone >

The production model BAMS will offer a 360-degree scanning ability with an Automatic Identification System that clocks and catalogue’s all surface vessels from 60,000 feet.

In addition to the high altitude scanning, the USS Ponce also uses the Scan Eagle drone system that can zoom in on individuals in small boats from several thousand feet in the air.

We posted this presentation several months ago, but thought it interesting after getting wind it was stationed in the Gulf, and shows that multi-level surveillance could become the norm.

Here's what the U.S. is watching. These are the 5 main operating bases where the MQ-4C fleet will be used, networking with other Navy and Air Force drones — notice the Persian Gulf has overlapping coverage by two BAMS drones

Along with its 360-degree scanning, it can capture images or full motion video at high resolution

And its sensor systems* can detect and automatically classify different targets at sea or along coastlines

Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS)

Maritime Radar, Electro-Optical / Infrared (EO/IR) sensor

Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver

Electronic Support Measures (ESM)

With a Rolls-Royce engine, bird-strike resistant wings and a slew of other payloads, the whole aircraft weighs 32,250 pounds — here's what it's carrying

The Navy could fly the all-seeing MQ-C4 like a big brother over strike fighters — like the F-35 — heading into combat. The surveillance drone would keep everyone in the loop

Here's how pieces of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program operate together, with the MQ-C4 front and centre

This is how it compares in size to other well-known aircraft — it's got a generous wingspan of 131 feet and a height of over 15 feet. The drone will last about 6 years before needing a new airframe*

*the mechanical structure of an aircraft, not including its engine.

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