Hughes to Provide Satellite Communications for Type-Certifiable Predator B

By Mike Ball / 07 Mar 2017


Hughes Network Systems has announced that its Defense and Intelligence and Systems Division (DISD) has been awarded a contract by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to work with the company to provide satellite communications on the “Type-Certifiable” Predator B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) system, which provides the basis for the United Kingdom’s Protector programme. A variant of the proven multi-mission Predator B, the new SkyGuardian aircraft will provide a next-generation capability, integrating enhanced safety and reliability systems that will enable RPA flight within civilian airspace, along with an increased payload capacity that will support a wide variety of mission sets.

Working with GA-ASI, Hughes is upgrading the aircraft’s satellite communications system with customized airborne Hughes HM series modems. The advanced modems will enable a significant increase in data transfer rates, employing an enhanced waveform that ensures resilient and secure communications when operating in challenging environments.

The new aircraft is designed to be compliant with NATO and UK airworthiness requirements, supporting easy integration into segregated and non-segregated civil airspace operations around the world.

“We are proud to have been selected for the SkyGuardian platform and its enhanced SATCOM capability,” said Rick Lober, vice president and general manager of Hughes DISD. “With the development and supply of our customized HM series modem, aircraft operators and mission personnel will experience the benefits of protected SATCOM which includes the flexibility to employ the most appropriate frequencies for Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLoS) communication.”

The SkyGuardian RPA expects to meet initial European certification standards this year.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact