General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has been contracted for the upgrade of the US Air National Guard’s (ANG) MQ-9 Block 1 and Block 5 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and Ground Control Stations (GCS).

The $12.1m contract will include Block 25 Dual Control Module GCS (DCMGCS) and Block 30 GCS.

Kits for High-Definition (HD) displays and Barrett Asymmetrical Digital Datalink Computers (BADDC) and Multi-Intelligence Smart Processing (MISP) will also be delivered.

Designed to serve as a payload data multiplexer, the BADDC helps optimise sensor data sources for RPA to transmit data links within its channel and bandwidth constraints.

BADDC arranges data from the RPA’s on-board sensors in a non-contiguous manner and transfers it into a single data link channel.

A bi-directional data architecture, MISP has been developed with the US Air Force Research Laboratory and BAE Systems.

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The smart processing permits secure internal and external data exchange with control stations and Squadron Operations Center.

Allowing quick addition of Internet Protocol-enabled sensors to the system, the sensors can be operated locally or remotely according to mission requirements.

Using MISP’s level intelligence capabilities, MQ-9 data is transferred to the right personnel.

GA-ASI president David R Alexander said: “We’re pleased to see the ANG move forward with these upgrades and further enhance the capabilities of their RPA systems.

“The HD kits and BADDCs will allow enable increased throughput and higher quality of sensor data between the MQ-9 and GCS, while MISP will enable seamless data flow between GCS and external networks.

“These upgrades will improve mission-effectiveness tremendously.”