Naval Air Systems Command has chosen a partnership between GALT Aerospace and Sierra Nevada Corp. to move into the second and third phases of an industry competition to build a network pod capable of supporting MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle operations by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Under the SkyTower 2 Airborne Network Extension program, the GALT-SNC team will start prototype development over a period of 18 months, test and perform the certification process before kicking off full-rate production in October 2024, SNC said Tuesday.
“This is a major win for GALT, and a significant win for non-traditional defense contractors in the industry,” said Mark Kempf, chief operations officer at GALT.
“We look forward to continuing our mission to provide innovative, open, scalable and tailorable communications architectures, rapid prototyping and user experience designs direct to the warfighter,” he added.
GALT was one of the three companies selected by the U.S. Navy in October 2022 to participate in the program’s first phase under an other transaction agreement.
The two companies’ proposed ST2 platform for the General Atomics-built drone employs an open systems approach and supports data sharing and tactical communications for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission.
SNC designed the pod offering with a suite of communications systems in a bid to help military users access mission-critical data across multiple domains.