AUVSI: BAMS breaks RQ convention for Global Hawk series

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Despite asking to receive an "MQ" designation for the maritime version of the Global Hawk series, the US Navy wants to make it clear the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) fleet will not be weaponized.

Navy and Air Force leadership have agreed to designate the BAMS the MQ-4C, breaking from the traditional RQ-designation system for the Global Hawk, says Capt Bob Dishman program manager for PMA-262.

Although MQ designation is often linked to weaponized unmanned aircraft systems, such as the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, Dishman pointed out there is no official link.

The MQ title instead reflects the capability of the BAMS' primary radar - the Northrop multi-function active sensor (MFAS), he says.

The BAMS fleet is designed to provide "unblinking" maritime surveillance across a 2,000nm area.