Military Embedded Systems

UAS-satellite connections to get upgrade from Hughes, GA-ASI


April 09, 2024

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Image courtesy GA-ASI

GERMANTOWN, Md. Hughes Network Systems (an EchoStar company) announced that it won a production contract from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to produce a key component of the next-generation satellite communications (SATCOM) system for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle 25M uncrewed aircraft system (UAS).

Under the terms of the production contract, Hughes is tasked with providing advanced, ruggedized modems -- dubbed the HM400T -- that integrate with the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD’s) standard waveform technology and transmission security (TRANSEC) features to enable significantly increased endurance and resilience for Gray Eagle 25M’s wide range of airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaisance (AISR) mission requirements, especially those in contested environments. The satellite system upgrades will enhance security and resilience on the UAS platforms. 

The HM400T uses a ruggedized container for high altitude applications; meets low size, weight and power (SWAP) requirements; and supports government-approved waveforms to ensure resilient ISR transmissions for the U.S. Army’s next-generation Gray Eagle 25M/MQ-1C UAS during its long-endurance missions. This next-generation UAS is aimed at use by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army National Guard to meet the demands of future unmanned and manned teaming operations. 

Following the development phase, GA-ASI awarded Hughes the initial production units; Hughes will start delivery on these communications systems later in 2024.


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