Hughes begins delivery of HM400 modems for MQ-9B SkyGuardian

11 February 2019 (Last Updated February 11th, 2019 10:43)

Hughes Network Systems has started the first shipments of its specialised, multiband HM400 SATCOM modems to power beyond-line-of-sight communications for MQ-9B SkyGuardian.

Hughes begins delivery of HM400 modems for MQ-9B SkyGuardian
Hughes Defense HM400 is a specialised, software-defined multiband satellite modem to support the SkyGuardian RPA. Credit: PRNewsfoto / Hughes Network Systems, LLC.

Hughes Network Systems has started the first shipments of its specialised, multiband HM400 SATCOM modems to power beyond-line-of-sight communications for MQ-9B SkyGuardian.

MQ-9B is General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ (GA-ASI) next-generation remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).

According to Hughes, the HM400 modems are customised to meet specific operational requirements and can support both military and commercial satellite frequencies.

HM400 leverages an open system architecture and software-definable modem and waveform technology to provide enhanced satellite-based communications for RPA.

It can open up applications such as search and rescue or disaster response for Predator-variant aircraft.

“It offers advantages such as frequency reuse for high operational efficiency, high data throughput rates for HD video and data transmissions, and a low size, weight and power (SWaP) profile.”

Hughes defence and intelligence systems division (DISD) vice-president and general manager Rick Lober said: “Hughes develops innovative technology to suit customer needs and, in this case, our HM400 was customised for GA-ASI’s resilient communications-on-the-move requirements for their SkyGuardian RPA.

“We’re excited to be part of GA-ASI’s team and starting the delivery of HM400 units for their next-generation platform.”

The Hughes HM400 can support military operations in challenging environmental conditions.

It offers advantages such as frequency reuse for high operational efficiency, high data throughput rates for HD video and data transmissions, and a low size, weight and power (SWaP) profile.

MQ-9B can carry multiple mission payloads and includes a detect and avoid (DAA) system to allow the retrofitting of an airborne due regard radar (DRR) for operation in non-cooperative airspace.

The aircraft can fly at a maximum altitude of more than 40,000ft and reach an airspeed of 210k.