Military Embedded Systems

UAS enhancements demonstrated by GA-ASI

News

June 26, 2020

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

MQ-9A photo: GA-ASI

SAN DIEGO. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) recently demonstrated several expanded automatic takeoff and landing capability (ATLC) enhancements on the MQ-9A Reaper unmanned aerial system (UAS) as part of the ongoing U.S. Air Force contract for MQ-9A modernization.

One enhancement, according to a report from GA-ASI, enables the MQ-9A to land at an alternate airfield in which no ground control station (GCS) is present, and under satellite communication (SATCOM) control; the remote pilot is able to enter new coordinates for a different landing area, or can opt to overfly and self-survey the divert airfield’s runway using the MQ-9A’s multispectral electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor to obtain coordinates for automatic landing. The remote aircrew then enables the UAS's ATLC system, which directs the aircraft to automatically maneuver itself into a landing pattern and make the automatic landing.

The second enhancement, say company officials, boosts the crosswind limits of the MQ-9A, while the third increases the maximum landing weight allowed for normal and emergency landings.

GA-ASI president David R. Alexander said of the enhancements to the MQ-9A: “All three enhancements provide MQ-9A aircrews with increased runway options, as well as expanded weather tolerances that greatly improve mission flexibility, operational availability, and time on station. It will also lead to a substantial reduction in aircrew."