General Atomics Aeronautical Systems demos SATCOM-enabled UAV launch and recovery
SAN DIEGO. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced a successful recent demonstration of its satellite communications (SATCOM)-enabled Automatic Takeoff and Landing Capability (ATLC) using its MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
GA-ASI officials state that the demonstrations were conducted in December 2017 using GA-ASI’s capital MQ-9B UAV, with the supervisory crew and ground control stations (GCS) operating out of the GA-ASI Gray Butte Flight Operations Center near Palmdale, California, and the aircraft flying out of Laguna Army Airfield near Yuma, Arizona. Using only a SATCOM datalink to guide it, the aircraft taxied and initiated six auto-takeoff and landing events.
This SATCOM-guided capability will eliminate the need for a ground-control station and pilot/flight crew to be located at the aircraft’s base, which will drastically reduce airlift requirements when the remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA) is forward-deployed, say GA-ASI officials.
SATCOM ATLC enables taxi, launch, and recovery operations from anywhere in the world, according to information from GA-ASI, and will reduce required aircrew manpower, shrink the launch-and-recovery footprint, lower the overall operating cost of the RPA. The SATCOM ATLC also enables rapid self-deployment of aircraft to any global runway with a Global Positioning System (GPS)-surveyed file.