Inmarsat’s government subsidiary has provided General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. with an L-band satellite communications system to control an MQ-9B SkyGuardian remotely piloted aircraft on its first flight across the Atlantic.
The SwiftBroadband satcom platform supported the medium altitude, long endurance RPA in selecting routes and running data applications throughout the trans-Atlantic journey, Inmarsat said Thursday.
SkyGuardian took off from GA-ASI’s Flight Test and Training Center in Grand Forks, N.D., then landed at a U.K. air force base in Gloucestershire, England.
SwiftBroadband is designed to provide connectivity across the globe through the I-4 satellite network.
The satcom service also helps streamline command and control and take-off and landing operations, which are typically unavailable for traditional RPA flights.
The MQ-9B is scheduled to make an appearance at the British air force’s three-day Royal International Air Tattoo airshow starting Friday.