General Atomics Aeronautical Systems says a NATO-led exercise held in Norway in May has demonstrated the inter-operability of its MQ-9 Reaper unmanned air vehicle.
The company deployed a Beechcraft King Air to serve as a surrogate Reaper on exercise Unified Vision. The twin-turboprop was equipped with an array of systems typically used on-board the UAV, including a Lynx Block 20A multi-mode radar, a FLIR Star Safire 3800HD electro-optical/infrared sensor, and an L-3 data link.
These sensors were used alongside the General Atomics Claw payload management software and featured Link 16 integration.
“Our sensor management system takes [full motion video] and radar feeds from the Reaper surrogate and other platforms and makes them available to the NATO [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] enterprise,” says General Atomics chief exectuive Linden Blue. “With each successive Unified Vision exercise, we improve our ability to share ISR data with NATO partners.”
During the Farnborough air show, the company is demonstrating its Advanced Cockpit Block 50 ground control station.
General Atomics has been contracted by the US Air Force to design, develop, and test the advanced cockpit under a four-year programme which will see the company deliver seven ground control stations, manuals, and training.
“Our US Air Force customer continues to show elevated interest in expanding the situational awareness for its Predator and Reaper pilots and the advanced cockpit is a tremendous tool that facilitates their mission,” Pace adds
“Farnborough is the perfect venue to demonstrate the advanced cockpit’s capabilities to the worldwide aviation community.”
The company also officially confirmed during the show that the export-ready variant of its MQ-1 Predator A model – the XP – had flown its first test flight.
The 35min flight took place on 27 June at Castle Heliport in the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, and this facility will now be used for showcasing the Predator XP system to international customers.