General Atomics’ aeronautical systems business has awarded Hughes Network Systems a contract to provide ruggedized modems to facilitate connectivity between U.S. Army-operated unmanned aircraft systems and satellite communications platforms.
Hughes said Wednesday it partnered with Comtech Telecommunications (Nasdaq: CMTL) to produce waveform and ground equipment to support the HM400 modems for integration with the service branch's MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS.
HM400 is built upon a software-defined and open-architecture framework that uses Hughes' Scrambled Code Multiple Access waveform technology to operate across Ku-, Ka- and X-band frequencies.
The contract also covers recurring software upgrade and maintenance work on air and ground modems for the extended-range Gray Eagle variant.
Rick Lober, vice president and general manager of Hughes' defense division, said the partnership with General Atomics seeks to equip military customers with updated communications technology for unmanned platforms.
Hughes delivered an initial batch of satcom modems last year to the UAS manufacturer to support MQ-9B SkyGuardian beyond-line-of-sight operations.