General Atomics Laser Communication System Completes Flight Test
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has completed a flight test of its air-to-air laser communication system at Montgomery Field in Kearney Mesa, California.
The laser system was trialed to enable General Atomics-built drones to perform beyond-line-of-sight communications in multi-domain operations and other air-to-space communication applications.
The demonstration involved the company’s Laser Airborne Communication (LAC) terminals integrated into two King Air aircraft.
During the test, the two planes were flown to Yuma, Arizona while maintaining a connection at 1.0 gigabits per second.
The trial included the transferring of various data, such as real-time navigation, video, and voice media.
According to GA-ASI, LAC uses anti-jam technology to support higher data transfer rates than traditional radio frequency systems.
It also has a Low Probability of Intercept/Low Probability of Detection, which secures the communication line against passive radar interception.
The capability can be configured as a podded solution for the MQ-9A Reaper, MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian, and MQ-1C Gray Eagle 25M drones.
“This air-to-air demonstration was a major success and marks a critical milestone for GA-ASI’s Lasercom development team,” Mission Payloads & Exploitation Vice President Satish Krishnan said.
“The success of this flight will pave the way for more opportunities to demonstrate crosslinks from aircraft to other platforms, including unmanned aircraft, maritime vessels, and space systems.”