GA-ASI, ANG, AATC & Extremely Electronics Efficiently Full Preliminary Operational Evaluation of REAP Pod on MQ-9 – Drones Information


Working with the Air National Guard (ANG), Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC), and Ultra Electronics, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) performed the first operational assessment of the Rosetta Echo Advanced Payloads (REAP) pod an MQ-9 Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA). The first REAP flight test (known as REAP-1), held on August 3 in Syracuse, New York, demonstrated a communications relay network that provides seamless 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, and Mobile Ad Hoc Networks (MANET).

“GA-ASI is excited to showcase the communication capabilities of the REAP Pod, which is the backbone for Warfighters to work together and share critical situational awareness on the battlefield. Our MQ-9, with its industry-leading endurance, is the ideal platform to connect sensors to shooters and realize the USAF’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) vision, “said David R. Alexander, President of GA-ASI.

ANG / AATC said a REAP-equipped MQ-9 video received from a small unmanned coyote aircraft system (Drones) relayed to a ground node at distances over 110 miles. All of this happened with simultaneous bridging of the voice communication over the MANET over longer distances.

Maj. Curt Wilson, A5 Branch Chief of the National Guard Bureau (NGB) for Special Mission Aircraft, said: “REAP has exceeded our expectations for a maiden flight and an initial operational assessment. The REAP Pod is the first in a series of innovations pioneered by NGB, Ultra, and GA-ASI to demonstrate short-term and affordable JADC2 (Joint All-Domain Command & Control) capabilities on the MQ-9 . “

ANG and AATC are working on planning another flight test with the REAP pod installed on the MQ-9 at the end of 2020. A REAP-2 pod, due to be completed in mid-2021, includes all REAP-1 functions as well as 4G / LTE. The addition adds disaster relief action as a function of the existing military waveform relay and bypass functions. REAP-2 is integrated into the AgilePod16 variant with open architecture from AFRL. This shows that GA-ASI is still committed to the comprehensive adoption and dissemination of Open Mission Systems (OMS) and open architecture. REAP was also presented during the second demo of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), which took place September 1-3, 2020.

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