Hughes Wins Contract to Elevate General Atomics Gray Eagle UAS with Next-Gen SATCOM Technology - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

Hughes Wins Contract to Elevate General Atomics Gray Eagle UAS with Next-Gen SATCOM Technology

Hughes Network Systems, LLC, a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq: SATS), has been chosen by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to provide advanced satellite communications (SATCOM) solutions for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle 25M Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

This partnership aims to enhance the UAS with the next-generation HM400T modems, ensuring superior security, endurance, and resilience for a wide array of Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (AISR) missions, especially in contested operational theatres.

The production contract enables Hughes to deliver a robust communications architecture that aligns with the evolving demands of modern warfare. “Hughes is thrilled to contribute to GA-ASI’s efforts by offering a secure, efficient communications solution that meets the future mission requirements,” stated Rick Lober, Vice President and General Manager of Hughes’ Defense and Government Systems Division. “Our involvement in this program reflects our commitment to supporting GA-ASI, the U.S. Army, and the enhancement of communications and ISR capabilities critical for multi-domain operations today.”

Engineered for resilience, the HM400T modems are built to integrate seamlessly with the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Enhanced Bandwidth Efficient Modulation (EBEM) waveform technology and Transmission Security (TRANSEC) protocols. This software-defined, commercial technology, adapted from the HM400 modem currently in use on GA-ASI’s MQ-9B UAS, is tailored to fulfill the stringent Size, Weight, and Power (SWAP) criteria. It also accommodates government-approved waveforms, ensuring reliable ISR data transmission for the Army’s next-gen Gray Eagle 25M, MQ-1C, UAS, and its extended-duration missions.

The Gray Eagle 25M is central to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army National Guard’s capability to conduct future unmanned and manned teaming operations. It is designed to bridge the expanding Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Targeting, and Attack (RSTA) needs.