NavalNews reports on the Maritime version of the Predator UAV, the MQ-9B Seaguardian, including its sensors and market success.
In addition to different sensors, this model is different from the MQ-9s that the Coast Guard has flown with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in that they are intended to operate in civilian airspace. CBP has been operating MQ-9 UAVs for 15 years.
Congress seems not only willing to support Coast Guard operation of land based medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAVs like the Seaguardian. They are actually pushing the Coast Guard. They can not seem to understand why we have not done it already.
In addition to the possibilities of use in the drug transit zones, these long range, long endurance aircraft could be especially useful in detecting IUU activity in the Western Pacific where there normally are no Coast Guard air assets.