GA-ASI, SES and Hughes Partner to Demonstrate NextGen SATCOM on MQ-9B SkyGuardian

Higher data rates increase the security and robustness of RPA

SAN DIEGO – November 10, 2022 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), SES and Hughes Network Systems (HUGHES) worked together to successfully demonstrate multi-orbit satellite communications (SATCOM) using an MQ- remotely piloted aircraft 9B SkyGuardian® supplied by GA-ASI (RPA). The demonstration took place on October 20, 2022, at GA-ASI’s Desert Horizon Flight Operations Facility in El Mirage, California. Orbit (MEO) and Geostationary (GEO), and was powered by a Hughes HM series Software Defined Modem and a Hughes Resource Management System.

“This demonstration proves the importance of the next generation of SATCOM to our aircraft operators,” said Fred Darlington, GA-ASI senior vice president for MQ-9 Systems. “As we expand into new, more complex payloads for our RPA, we will need higher data rates that provide the bandwidth, security, and robustness to run our sensors.”

The demonstration used SES’s O3b MEO system which offers carrier-grade fiber-like performance, scalability and resiliency that paves the way for large-scale use of open architectures and the realization of network sovereignty. -9, can maintain high and critical workload connectivity and resiliency, even in contested environments. During the demonstration, the Connectivity Service roamed seamlessly between the O3b MEO and AMC-15 GEO satellites. Later this year, SES will launch its second-generation MEO system, O3b mPOWER, to further support governments with unprecedented performance, waveform-independent service and enabling network sovereignty.

“We are very proud of our partnership developed over the years between SES, GA-ASI and their government clients. Innovation is key to supporting transformational changes in SRI services, and this demonstration is just one more example of how the industry can work together to bring something special to market,” said Will Tong, Vice President of Strategic Government Initiatives and Head of Aero Market SRI at SES. “Working with GA-ASI, we were able to prove new levels of secure, flexible and high-performance multi-orbit services for ISR, with 10x performance on a significantly smaller form factor, with increased resiliency and security for end users. ”

Integrated into the MQ-9B, the milspec Hughes HM System (HM400) modem powered the MEO and GEO SATCOM with low probability of intercept/low probability of detection (LPI/LPD) modes for the resiliency needed in congested environments and disputed. Combined with the Hughes Resource Management System, the HM400 automatically optimized and switched satellite signals smoothly and within seconds, demonstrating a near real-time capability that enhances the Army’s primary alternate emergency planning (PACE).

“Having worked with General Atomics for many years, we are pleased to support the MQ-9B program with the built-in commercial Hughes HM400 modem as the standard for real-time communications for mission opportunities beyond line-of-sight,” said said Rick Lober, Vice President. President and CEO, Hughes Defense. “Combined with the Hughes Resource Management System, the frequency-independent, open-architecture HM system helps GA-ASI meet its military customers’ requirements for uninterrupted, high data-rate multi-orbit SATCOM, ensuring secure access to information for the right people at the right time.”

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), a subsidiary of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of reliable and proven remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, radars and mission systems electro-optical and related, including the Predator® RPA Series and Lynx® Multi-Mode Radar. With over seven million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems necessary to provide persistent flight that enables situational awareness and a quick strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, provides pilot training and support services, and develops metamaterial antennas. For more information, visit

Avenger, Lynx, Predator SeaGuardian and SkyGuardian are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

About SES

SES has a bold vision to deliver incredible experiences anywhere on earth by distributing the highest quality video content and providing seamless connectivity around the world. As a global leader in content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit satellite constellation offering a unique combination of global coverage and high performance, including the world-proven low-latency O3b Medium Earth Orbit system. trade. By leveraging a large, intelligent, cloud-enabled network, SES is able to deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air, and is a trusted partner for leading companies. telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’ video network carries approximately 8,000 channels and has an unrivaled reach of 366 million homes, providing managed media services for linear and non-linear content. The company is listed on the Paris and Luxembourg stock exchanges (Ticker: SESG). Further information is available at:

About Hughes Network Systems

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), an innovator in satellite and multi-transport technologies and networks for 50 years, provides broadband equipment and services; managed services offering software-defined intelligent networks; and end-to-end network operation for millions of consumers, businesses, governments and communities around the world. Hughes’ flagship Internet service, HughesNet®, connects millions of subscribers across the Americas, and the Hughes JUPITER™ system powers Internet access for tens of millions more around the world. Hughes supplies more than half of the global satellite terminal market to major satellite operators, inflight service providers, mobile network operators and military customers. A managed network service provider, Hughes supports nearly 500,000 enterprise sites with its HughesON™ portfolio of wired and wireless solutions. Based in Germantown, Maryland, USA, Hughes is owned by EchoStar. To learn more, visit or follow HughesConnects on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Echo Star

EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS) is a leading global provider of satellite communications solutions. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, and operating globally, EchoStar is a pioneer in secure communications technologies through its Hughes Network Systems and EchoStar Satellite Services business segments. For more information, visit Follow @EchoStar on Twitter.

©2022 Hughes Network Systems, LLC, an EchoStar company. Hughes and HughesNet are registered trademarks and JUPITER is a trademark of Hughes Network Systems, LLC.

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