General Atomics Opens New Office in India to Support Possible Sale of SeaGuardian UAS and EMALS

General Atomics announced the opening of a new office in New Delhi, India adding that Mr. Pratesh Gandhi will serve as Director of India Strategic Development with responsibilities for directing business and strategic outreach efforts for the company in India.

General Atomics is currently working with Indian and U.S. governments in an effort to provide India with a variety of systems and technologies supporting national defense, including General Atomics’ MQ-9B SeaGuardian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system for future Indian Navy aircraft carriers.

“We are very pleased to open our first office in India, and to have Pratesh Gandhi join the General Atomics team,” said Linden P. Blue, CEO of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI). “His expertise working with the Indian Navy provides General Atomics with an invaluable local resource to further develop and strengthen strategic and long-term relationships with the Government of India. We are looking forward to fostering new opportunities for collaboration to advance critical systems and technologies for Indian defense applications.”

As director of Strategic Development, Mr. Gandhi brings a breadth of experience in defense acquisition to support General Atomics strategic initiatives in India. He is a veteran Naval Aviator with over 3,000 flying hours on a variety of aircraft, and has held flying, staff, and project office positions in the Indian Navy. He is also qualified in Flight Safety and Investigation. Mr. Gandhi has authored and edited books on naval aviation history, and is a contributor to military journals.

The United States and Indian governments have pledged to deepen defense and security cooperation, and to work together on advanced defense equipment and technology at a level commensurate with that of the closest allies and partners of the United States. Due to this, General Atomics received export approval for the SeaGuardian system along with the EMALS and AAG system.

The SeaGuardian system provides wide-area, persistent, maritime surveillance with its surface-search radar and HD-video sensor. The aircraft’s collision-avoidance system and STANAG-compliant airworthiness pedigree allows safe operation in civilian airspace and in the Indian Ocean tropical weather zone.

“Establishing an office in New Delhi positions us to better collaborate with our Indian customers to deliver capabilities that address emerging security challenges in the region,” continued Mr. Blue.

MQ-9B SeaGuardian

MQ-9B SeaGuardian is the maritime surveillance variant of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI).

GA-ASI designed MQ-9B as the next generation of multi-mission MQ-9 Predator B/ Reaper fleet. MQ-9B is the result of a five-year, company-funded effort to deliver an unmanned aircraft that can fly in non-segregated airspace, while meeting the stringent airworthiness type-certification requirements of NATO STANAG 4671.

SeaGuardian is fitted with Multimode 360 Maritime Surface Search Radar and Automatic identification system (AIS) for naval operations.

GA-ASI MQ-9B SeaGuardian
GA-ASI MQ-9B SeaGuardian unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft. GA-ASI Photo.

Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS)

Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is a type of aircraft launching system developed by General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) for the U.S. Navy’s newest Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers.

The system launches carrier-based aircraft by means of a catapult employing a linear induction motor rather than the conventional steam piston.

Its main advantage is that it accelerates aircraft more smoothly, putting less stress on their airframes. Compared to steam catapults, the EMALS also weighs less, is expected to cost less and require less maintenance, and can launch both heavier and lighter aircraft than a steam piston-driven system. It also reduces the carrier’s requirement of fresh water, thus reducing the demand for energy-intensive desalination.

EMALS launch
First launch of an F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter aircraft from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier using the new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) system on July 28, 2017. U.S. Navy Photo.

Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG)

The Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) is a type of arresting gear developed by GA-EMS for the U.S. Navy Gerald R. Ford-class supercarriers.

The system will replace the MK 7 hydraulic arresting gear which is in use on the ten Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.

The AAG is designed for a broader range of aircraft, including UAVs, while reducing manpower and maintenance. Rotary engines which use simple energy-absorbing water turbines (or twisters) coupled to a large induction motor provide finer control of the arresting forces.

Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG)
First recovery of a U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet by an Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system onboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier. U.S. Navy Photo.

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