Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska: The Ultra designed, Rosetta Echo Advanced Payloads or “REAP” Pod, recently took flight on an 174th Attack Wing MQ-9 REAPER remotely piloted aircraft during the Northern Edge 21 Exercise May 3-14th.
The REAP Pod demonstrated its robust communication and data translation capabilities for the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC) in this two week joint force exercise over Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex.
Flying on an outer wing station while also preserving the MQ-9’s weapon capability set, the REAP pod provided full spectrum communication range extension, voice repeater, relay functions and data exchange and translation across several disparate radio networks. The REAP interfaced with the high performance computing environment, and was able to translate enhanced targeting data that was processed through specialised Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to provide real-time target sorting information to attack aircraft via Link 16.
Link 16 on the MQ-9 platform provides self-reporting participation in the command and control network allowing situational awareness for cooperating airborne forces that previously were unaware of the REAPER’s location. The REAP added Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) to the pod expanding the network capability and allowing real-time dissemination of sensor data from onboard systems without reliance on remote processing. Onboard AI-enabled target processing is communicated through the REAP directly into the combat mission systems for decision makers to act on time critical information. Time sensitive targeting is enhanced by REAP’s secure communication networks and Open Mission Systems (OMS) interface to subsystems on the MQ-9 platform.
“The REAP Pod far exceeded our expectations during its initial operational assessment last year. REAP’s performance at Northern Edge 21 has only added to its stellar reputation. REAP and the entire Ultra team performed impressively,” said Lt Col Michael McDermott, Air National Guard Global Mobility Requirements Branch chief. “The REAP Pod flown here is the result of innovative ideas that the National Guard Bureau, Ultra, and General Atomics-ASI have developed and have proven to demonstrate near term and affordable Joint All-Domain Command & Control (JADC2) capabilities on the Ghost REAPER MQ-9 variant.”
“Ultra has a long history of working with and supporting the work of the Air National Guard. The REAP Pod’s performance at Northern Edge 21 is no accident –it is a testament to the engineering acumen and dedication of the REAP team to the ANG’s objectives for domestic and downrange operations,” said Jill Daiber, President of Ultra, Command, Control and Intelligence. “This effort is another example of Ultra’s dedication to those on the front lines, and our mantra to Innovate Today for a Safer Tomorrow.”
Jeff Lloyd-Jones - Vice President, Strategic Business Development
Ultra specialises in providing application-engineered tailored solutions. We focus on our customers’ mission critical and intelligent systems in the defence, security, critical detection & control markets.