Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    AATC Tests Enhanced Intelligence Gathering Capabilities with MQ-9 Reaper Upgrade



    Story by Staff Sgt. Van Whatcott 

    162nd Wing

    Eielson Air Force Base, AK - The Air National Guard-Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC) partnered with the 174 ATKW and 556 TES to test an upgraded satellite communications (SATCOM) capability of the MQ-9 Reaper during Northern Edge 2023.

    Northern Edge 23 (NE23) is a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) sponsored, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces (HQ PACAF) led, multilateral, joint field training exercise (FTX) scheduled for May 2023 at main operating bases (MOB) Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson(JBER) and Eielson Air Force Base (AFB), Alaska.

    The MQ-9 is a remotely piloted aircraft primarily used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Air National Guard pilots, using the SATCOM upgrade, are able to fly ISR missions in real time almost anywhere around the world from remote bases in the United States.

    The MQ-9's upgraded SATCOM system uses advanced satellite technology to transmit data and communications over long distances. It is capable of flying at high altitudes for extended periods, and its sensors can provide real-time intelligence on adversary positions, movements, and activities. The Air National Guard plans to deploy the upgraded MQ-9 to support ongoing operations around the world, as well as for training exercises and other missions in support of U.S. national security objectives.

    "The speed at which this modernization effort and test program has been accomplished highlights the Accelerate, Change, or Lose vision from Gen. Brown," said Maj. Ryan Nastase, Test Program Manager. “This SATCOM upgrade will allow pole-to-pole operations while increasing the amount of data or bandwidth the MQ-9 can transmit and receive by more than double and reducing the latency or time of transmission by a factor of 10.”.

    With the upgraded SATCOM capability, the MQ-9 can continue to modernize by integrating more advanced sensors that require increased bandwidth. The upgrade enhances MQ-9s’ ability to provide real-time situational awareness to combatant commanders around the world.

    "This upgrade is a game-changer for the MQ-9 and the Air National Guard," said Lt. Col. Matthew Harris, Test Pilot at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY. "We can better support our combatant commanders and provide critical intelligence in real-time."

    The SATCOM upgrade is one of many advancements being fielded on the MQ-9. The Air National Guard and its partners are continually working to enhance the capabilities of these critical assets and provide combatant commanders with the best possible support.



    Date Taken: 05.23.2023
    Date Posted: 05.23.2023 14:16
    Story ID: 445337
    Location: FAIRBANKS, AK, US

    Web Views: 544
    Downloads: 0