Hughes and SES present the first multi-orbit SATCOM for remotely piloted aircraft

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) and SES today announced the first successful demonstration of a new Multi-Orbit Satellite Communications (SATCOM) capability for remotely piloted aircraft. Conducted for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), the demonstration combined software-defined modems and a Hughes HM series resource management system (RMS) with SES satellites that operate in geosynchronous orbits (GEO) and terrestrial average (MEO). SES’s unique multi-orbital fleet, which offers high global coverage, throughput and security, has been leveraged to show how unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the GA-ASI MQ-9 series, can maintain critical connectivity and resiliency, even in challenging environments.

The demonstration replicated a typical unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission, transmitting high-definition video and sensor data to and from the unmanned vehicle to the command center. Based on predefined mission policies, the RMS automatically switched satellite signals to stay connected, even when a signal experienced interference and jamming scenarios. A near-instant, smooth beam switch took just seconds, enabling near-real-time capability that enhances the Army’s Primary Alternative Contingency Planning (PACE).

“Our multi-orbit demonstration for remotely piloted aircraft provided three times the throughput of the currently deployed SATCOM service using a terminal less than half the size, while maintaining constant connectivity,” said Rick Lober, vice president and Managing Director of Hughes Defense. “This highly durable and significantly reduced SWAP option for primary and secondary aerodynamic connections opens up new mission opportunities beyond the line of sight for unmanned aerial vehicles like the GA-ASI MQ-9. This is another example of how Hughes enables our military to securely exchange information with the right people at the right time.

“SES’s second generation MEO, O3b mPOWER, ushers in a new era of game-changing performance, scalability and resilience that will allow us to deliver the network sovereignty governments seek,” said Will Tong. , Vice President of Strategic Government Initiatives and Head of Aero ISR Market at SES Networks. “Our demonstration with Hughes shows the power of the industry’s first multi-orbital network capability to exponentially increase performance using small terminals, while giving end users the autonomy to deliver services. networks in order to meet their SRI operational needs. It also comes at an ideal time as we prepare to launch O3b mPOWER, as the presented solution ensures both high performance and multiple layers of network resiliency and security for multi-domain operations that involve moving platforms. -forms in remote and austere locations. “

The demonstration was powered by software-defined gateways and modems from the Hughes HM system, a frequency-independent, open-architecture business platform for fixed, mobile and portable government applications.

For more information on Hughes Defense solutions, including the HM System, visit

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