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Hughes Modem Provides Key Functionality for Army’s Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft; VP/GM Rick Lober Quoted

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Satellite and network services company Hughes Network Systems has partnered with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) to develop a modem for a U.S. Army unmanned aircraft system.

The two organizations recently put their work on display, providing evidence of the HM400 modem’s communication capabilities in support of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range unmanned aircraft systems, the Germantown, Maryland-based company said on February 22.

Hughes Defense Vice President and General Manager Rick Lober emphasized Gray Eagle’s requirement of a satellite communication system that is able to host an exchange of “high-quality, high-throughput data intelligence in any domain.”

“Employing software-defined technologies, the HM System is flexible and customizable, with an open architecture that interfaces with a variety of antenna technologies and satellite constellations to maintain information assurance, no matter where the Gray Eagle flies,” Lober continued.

The Gray Eagle is equipped to traverse both land and water environments and uses satellites to report its findings to warfighters stationed at potential thousand-mile distances. It is therefore a crucial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance instrument of the Army.

The HM400 modem wields a container built for all environments, especially high-altitude, and a facility to toggle between geostationary and nongeostationary satellite beams and frequencies.

These features are intended to empower the Gray Eagle’s communication bandwidth to endure any conditions and maintain connectivity.

The project builds on a history of collaboration between Hughes and GA-ASI, for whom the company has lent its satellite communications equipment and integration services for a number of years.