Military Embedded Systems

REAP pod on unmanned MQ-9 completes initial operational assessment


October 06, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

GA-ASI photo.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. In conjunction with the Air National Guard (ANG), the Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC), and Ultra Electronics, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) completed initial operational assessment of the Rosetta Echo Advanced Payloads (REAP) pod on an MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).

According to the companh, the first REAP flight test (known as REAP-1) demonstrated a communications relay network providing connectivity between air and ground participants in the demonstration area. Specific waveforms supported by the REAP pod include Link 16, UHF/VHF radio and P25 public safety, as well as mobile ad hoc networks (MANET).

According to the ANG/AATC, a REAP-equipped MQ-9 relayed video received from a Coyote small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) to a ground node at distances over 110 miles. All this was done while simultaneously bridging voice communications over the MANET at extended distances.

Officials claim that the ANG and AATC are working to schedule another flight test in late 2020 with the REAP pod installed on the MQ-9. A REAP-2 pod, due for completion in mid-2021, encompasses all of the REAP-1 capability plus 4G/LTE. REAP-2 will be integrated into AFRL’s open architecture AgilePod16 variant.