Military Embedded Systems

Satellite comms tested via MQ-9 drone in General Atomics, U.S. military test


February 06, 2023

Dan Taylor

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Photo courtesy General Atomics

PALMDALE, California. Officials tested an MQ-9A Reaper uncrewed aerial system (UAS) equipped with a low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications command and control system in a joint test conducted by MQ-9 manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) along with the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force, and the Air National Guard, the company announced in a statement.

The flight test, which was based out of GA-ASI's Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in California, took place after several weeks of ground testing. The test was meant to demonstrate that an MQ-9A (or an MQ-9B or MQ-1) equipped with this capability could provide global coverage and connectivity, the statement reads.

The technology is intended to provide "connectivity that allows operators to pass much more data to and from the aircraft," the statement continues.

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