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  • Satellite Evolution

General Dynamics Mission Systems to provide SATCOM-on-the-move antennas to GA-ASI

General Dynamics Mission Systems has announced that it has completed qualification testing of the Ku-band variant of the SATCOM-on-the-Move (SOTM) Model 17-27A antenna as part of a contract awarded by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI). Under this agreement, General Dynamics Mission Systems is providing initial production antennas for use aboard GA-ASI’s SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian unmanned aerial vehicles with follow-on orders for up to 52 additional antennas anticipated before December. The qualification testing and manufacturing of the antennas was performed at General Dynamics facilities in Scottsdale, Arizona and Taunton, Massachusetts.

General Dynamics’ SATCOM-on-the-Move antenna completes qualification testing; begins production for use aboard SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian UAVs

The Federal Communications Commission-Earth Station in Motion compliant 17-27A SOTM Ku-band antenna will enable secure voice, video, and data satellite communications (SATCOM) between SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian UAVs and operators on the ground during missions. The antenna’s lightweight design which incorporates a precision multi-axis gimbal developed by GA-ASI is ideal for extended duration unmanned operation by supporting uninterrupted, high-bandwidth SATCOM capability.

“The 17-27A SATCOM-on-the-Move antenna is the latest in our line of secure and reliable, on-the-move communications for the most challenging operational environments where there is limited or no access to line-of-sight networks,” said Ryan Orth, vice president of RF Systems at General Dynamics Mission Systems. “By utilizing widely available commercial Ku-band satellite networks, these terminals significantly increase UAV operational flexibility and range.”

Earlier this year, General Dynamics Mission Systems completed qualification testing for the X-band variant of the SOTM Model 17-27A antenna and is currently delivering 20 units to GA-ASI. The X-band frequencies are specifically used by the U.S. and allied military for use on military Wideband Global Satcom and Skynet geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) satellite networks. Beyond GEO, the antenna can also support medium Earth orbit (MEO) and low Earth orbit (LEO) tracking and communications as new SATCOM networks become available, making it virtually future-proof and protecting users’ investments.

The 17-27A has an interchangeable radio frequency (RF) payload design on a common gimbal. The antenna is modem-agnostic with open standard interfaces, permitting use on a wide variety of SATCOM networks.

General Dynamics SOTM products are available in a variety of sizes and configurations. They are specifically designed for rugged tactical environments and can be installed on fast-moving ground vehicles, maritime vessels, and aircraft to provide reliable X, Ku, or Ka military and commercial band satellite communications anytime, anywhere.

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