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Groundbreaking: General Atomics Utilizes AI and Low Earth Orbit SATCOM to Fly Avenger Drone

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has announced the successful execution of flight maneuvers with its MQ-20 Avenger drone, employing artificial intelligence supported by satellite communication in Low Earth Orbit (LEO SATCOM). During the demonstration, GA-ASI showcased its “live, virtual, constructive collaborative combat aircraft ecosystem over a LEO SATCOM provider’s IP-based Mission Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) datalink.”

This allowed for collaborative maneuvers between AI and human pilots. The connection facilitated rapid “retraining and redeployment” of the AI pilots in real-time as the drone performed combat maneuvers. Human-Machine Teaming Through GA-ASI’s constructive collaborative combat aircraft ecosystem, there is a heightened level of human-machine teaming, with commands transmitted via LEO SATCOM to AI pilots that autonomously adapt using reinforcement learning algorithms.

This event marked the first utilization of a LEO SATCOM connection to guide an AI-piloted combat aerial vehicle, utilizing two L3Harris Technologies RASOR Multi-Functional Processors equipped with a transceiver card and a BLOS Active Electronically Scanned Array controller.

Michael Atwood, GA-ASI’s Senior Director of Advanced Programs, emphasized, “The flight demonstrated GA-ASI’s unparalleled ability to achieve autonomous flight on actual, tactically relevant unmanned combat aerial vehicles. It showcased effective BLOS command and control through the collaboration of three defense primes.

This signifies the rapid maturation of our CCA mission system suite and brings us closer to delivering this groundbreaking capability to the warfighter.”

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