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This week, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded a $10 million contract to San Diego-based drone-maker, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), to develop “key laser subsystems required to demonstrate precision tracking” on the MQ-9 Reaper drone, as reported by Defense Tech.
In particular, the multi-waveband MTS-C Airborne Infrared (ABIR) sensor, a technology that has been in development for a long time, improves the drone’s ability to detect and track ballistic missiles—and has already been demonstrated successfully at Pacific Dragon, a biennial recent training exercise off the coast of Hawaii that involves U.S., Japanese, and South Korean naval forces.
“The test provided valuable data in our ongoing effort to develop an effective airborne missile defense capability,” Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI, said in the company’s release.
The MQ-9 Reaper (formerly Predator B) is a long-endurance, medium to high altitude aircraft utilized by the military for surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting. Already an aerial (and autonomous) force to be reckoned with, it boasts an impressive 950-shaft-horsepower turboprop engine, cruising speeds over 300 mph, 3,800-pound payload, 30-hour endurance, and an altitude of 50,000 feet.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)