General Atomics Conducts Carrier Deck Taxi Capability Demo for MQ-25 Tanker Drone Offering

A General Atomics business unit has demonstrated aircraft carrier-based deck taxi capability and launch-and-recovery operations for its proposed offering for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 carrier-based unmanned aerial refueling tanker program.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. used a Predator C Avenger drone as a substitute for its MQ-25 offering and director wands that work to control taxi operations on flight deck, the company said Monday.

The director wands use algorithms designed to recognize and translate Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures-based hand gestures to the unmanned platform to perform certain functions.

“MQ-25 will be able to ‘talk back’ to the controller and other flight deck personnel using a small series of LEDs that change colors and/or flash to show that they have received a command and indicate the aircraft’s condition or operating state,” David Alexander, president of aircraft systems at GA-ASI, said of the director wands.

Alexander noted that the demonstration seeks to show the capability of the firm’s MQ-25 platform to integrate into ship operations.

General Atomics announced in February that it will work with Boeing, BAE Systems, United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney and aerospace systems business, L3 Technologies, Rockwell Collins and GKN Aerospace‘s Fokker business to compete for the MQ-25 tanker drone program.


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