Ultra’s Rosetta Echo Advanced Payloads (REAP®) Pod successfully completes initial Operational Assessment, exceeding Air National Guard expectations

28 August 2020

Syracuse Hancock International Airport, NY: The Ultra designed, Rosetta Echo Advanced Payloads or “REAP” Pod, recently took flight on an 174th Attack Wing MQ-9 REAPER remotely piloted aircraft. The flights demonstrated REAP’s robust capabilities for the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC) over the course of several days at Syracuse’s dual-use airfield.

Flying on an outer wing station while also preserving the MQ-9’s weapon capability set, the REAP pod provides full spectrum communication range extension, voice repeater, relay functions and data exchange & translation across disparate radio networks.

In testing with AATC, REAP demonstrated voice communications over a Mobile Ad Hoc Network (MANET) at extended distances, while enabling full motion video from the MQ-9 to be relayed 110 miles over the horizon. REAP was also able to bridge surveillance imagery video from a Coyote® unmanned aircraft system to ground Command and Control assets.

Major Curt Wilson, National Guard Bureau Branch Chief for Special Mission Aircraft, said of the REAP performance,

Quite frankly, REAP far exceeded our expectations for a first flight and initial operational assessment. REAP and the entire Ultra team performed impressively. The REAP Pod is the first step in a number of innovations that the NGB, Ultra and General Atomics-ASI have pioneered to demonstrate near term and affordable Joint All-Domain Command & Control (JADC2) capabilities on the MQ-9.”

Follow on versions of REAP include Link 16 integration, providing Low-Latency Tactical Data Link information to the warfighter in the air and on the ground - allowing time sensitive targeting information to be easily transferred from the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) to designated attack aircraft. REAP also provides first responders the ability to reestablish critical communications in disaster relief areas when the commercial architecture has been destroyed or compromised.

Jill Daiber, President of Ultra, Advanced Tactical Systems, commented,

Ultra Electronics has a long history of working with and supporting the work of the Air National Guard. The REAP system’s first successful flight is a testament to the engineering acumen and dedication of the REAP team to the ANG’s objectives for domestic and downrange operations. 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.”

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