The U.S. Air Force performed flights of the General Atomics-built MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft equipped with an electronic support measure payload and a digital recorder in Europe through remote split operations.
The Reaper Defense Electronic Support System ESM payload provides MQ-9 with electronic sensing capability by gathering and geolocating signals of interest from standoff ranges, while the digital recorder collects multispectral targeting pod data to further develop machine learning and artificial intelligence applications, General Atomics said Thursday.
The Air Force’s 26th Weapons Squadron collaborated with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and L3Harris Technologies to conduct the MQ-9 flights in Europe.
“The ability to operate and disseminate information gathered from the advanced sensors carried aboard the MQ-9 is foundational to its role in the great power competition environment. Our efforts in AI and ML is further advancing the MQ-9’s autonomous capabilities which will greatly enhance its mission resiliency during periods of contested electromagnetic spectrum operations,” said J.R. Reid, vice president for DOD strategic development at GA-ASI.
The flights were carried out in line with the demonstration of the Advanced Battle Management System in Europe.