Multi-use NATO pod flies on MQ-9
In late November, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) flew the NATO pod, developed by it and Sener Aeroespacial, for the first time.
The NATO pod increases configuration and payload options for the MQ-9A and MQ-9B UAVs.
GA-ASI said the product was designed for international customers interested in 'rapidly integrating' sovereign payloads.
The pod was flown using an MQ-9A at Yuma Proving Grounds.
GA-ASI VP of mission payloads and exploitation Satish Krishnan said: 'We’ve worked closely with Sener to meet requirements and keep our combined teams in sync to achieve this great outcome.
‘Our successful test flight allows us to begin marketing this new capability to our international partner nations as a way to rapidly add sovereign payload capability.’
The NATO pod is a flexible and scalable enclosure with structural features designed to host a range of mission systems.
The pod connects with standard MQ-9 aircraft power and navigation interfaces, including the aircraft's platform data link to the ground control station.
GA-ASI said the industrial cooperation effort introduced European manufacturing of mission hardware and ‘opens the door’ to customer-specified mission payloads built outside the US.
The NATO pod tested featured a payload made by French Arpège SAS.
More from Uncrewed Vehicles
UK flight test sees largest unmanned aircraft take off from a Royal Navy aircraft carrier.
CATIC have displayed its new AR-2000 drone at Dubai Airshow 2023, emphasising ship-based capabilities with PLA already purchasing.
Australia has ordered four Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAS which can operate as an uncrewed maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) alongside the country’s in-service Boeing P-8A MPA fleet.
The Khronos tethered UAS has been designed to be simple to use and has drawn on Elistair’s experience with hundreds of existing customers.
The use of long-duration Uncrewed Surface Vehicles for maritime surveillance and monitoring has become part of the fleet inventory as navies try to reduce the level of effort required to gather intelligence on areas of interest.
A growing number of uncrewed systems have been on show at Sydney's Indo-Pacific Maritime exhibition with a select few currently being trialled to see if they can enhance the Royal Australian Navy's surveillance levels.