General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, announced at Modern Day Marine 2016 that its Network Centric Communications Pod (NCCP) successfully demonstrated the ability to provide a robust communications data link between Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) and US Marine Corps (USMC) ground and air forces during an exercise held at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, Calif., in July.
Integrated aboard a company-owned PREDATOR B Block 5 and operated by a company-owned Block 30 Ground Control Station (GCS), NCCP provided Adaptive Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) retransmissions and Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) availability while simultaneously providing C-band Remote Operational Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) Full-motion Video (FMV) to advantaged users who possessed highly sophisticated connectivity and communications equipment, as well as disadvantaged users on the battlefield who were equipped with Kinetic Integrated Low-cost Software Integrated Tactical Combat Handheld (KILSWITCH) tablets.
“The successful demonstration of NCCP for the Marine Corps clearly shows the versatility and utility of Predator B in extending the communication ranges and mission capabilities of our forces in distributed operations,” Claudio Pereida, executive vice president, Mission Systems, GA-ASI, told MT. “We are proud to have supported the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit during this historic exercise, marking the first time that a Predator-series aircraft was equipped with NCCP.”
During the demonstration, soldiers experienced enhanced situational awareness through the expansion of their ANW2 and TTNT networks, greatly improving their ability to communicate and share information in a network that included both an airborne node and ground users. PREDATOR B also provided live FMV to soldiers’ ROVER, and the NCCP demonstrated the ability to stream FMV via ANW2 to USMC KILSWITCH tablets. Additionally, this data, along with imagery captured by GA-ASI’s LYNX Multi-mode Radar, was transmitted to Camp Pendleton’s Battle Simulation Center and displayed on GA-ASI’s CLAW 3 Integrated Sensor Payload Control and Analysis Software system, as well as GA-ASI’s System for Tactical Archival, Retrieval, and Exploitation (STARE) workstations. These data exploitation products greatly enhanced USMC’s intelligence analysis and targeting in the area of operations.
NCCP is a Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) developed to enhance and extend long-range communications, providing a medium-altitude gateway for airborne and ground communications networks systems that enables digital interoperability and connectivity for advantaged and disadvantaged users. This MCWL demonstration follows two previously successful GA-ASI electronic attack demonstrations for the USMC in 2013.