General Atomics‘ aeronautical systems business has demonstrated launch and recovery of an unmanned aerial system using a portable laptop in conjunction with a satellite communications technology.
The company said Friday it only used an expeditionary command-and-control laptop to conduct preflight checks on the MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft and subsequently transferred flight operation to a remote ground contract station via satcom.
The mission’s assigned team then launched the aircraft through the use of a satcom datalink that also continued to facilitate a short flight and landing maneuver. The team returned control to the laptop to conduct the aircraft’s shutdown and post-flight procedures.
David Alexander, president of aircraft systems at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., said an automatic takeoff and landing capability can help protect remote pilots from any potential conflict compared with a forward GLS that relies on line-of-sight communication.
GA-ASI developed MQ-9B through a five-year, company-funded project. The system is designed to comply with NATO airworthiness requirements.