Hughes Selected for General Atomics Aeronautical “Type-Certifiable” Predator B RPA Platform

March 6, 2017

Next-generation SATCOM system for UK MOD Protector Programme


Germantown, MD, March 06, 2017—Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite solutions and services, today announced that its Defense and Intelligence and Systems Division (DISD) has been awarded a contract by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) to work with the company to provide satellite communications on the “Type-Certifiable” Predator® B (TCPB) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) system, which provides the basis for the United Kingdom’s Protector programme. A variant of the proven multi-mission Predator B, the new SkyGuardianTM aircraft will provide a next-generation capability, integrating enhanced safety and reliability systems that will enable RPA flight within civilian airspace, along with an increased payload capacity that will support a wide variety of mission sets.

Working with GA-ASI, Hughes is upgrading the aircraft’s satellite communications system with customized airborne Hughes HM series modems. The advanced modems will enable a significant increase in data transfer rates, employing an enhanced waveform that ensures resilient and secure communications when operating in challenging environments.

The new aircraft is designed to be compliant with NATO and UK airworthiness requirements, supporting easy integration into segregated and non-segregated civil airspace operations around the world.

“We are proud to have been selected for the SkyGuardian platform and its enhanced SATCOM capability,” said Rick Lober, vice president and general manager of Hughes DISD. “With the development and supply of our customized HM series modem, aircraft operators and mission personnel will experience the benefits of protected SATCOM which includes the flexibility to employ the most appropriate frequencies for Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLoS) communication.”

The SkyGuardian RPA expects to meet initial European certification standards this year.

About Hughes Network Systems

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) is the global leader in broadband satellite technology and services for home and office. Its flagship high-speed satellite Internet service is HughesNet®, the world’s largest satellite network with over 1 million residential and business customers across North America and Brazil. For large enterprises and governments, the company’s HughesON® managed network services provide complete connectivity solutions employing an optimized mix of satellite and terrestrial technologies. The JUPITER™ System is the world’s most widely deployed High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) platform, operating on more than 20 satellites by leading service providers, supporting broadband enterprise, mobility and cellular backhaul applications. To date, Hughes has shipped more than 5.5 million terminals to customers in over 100 countries, representing approximately 50 percent market share, and its technology is powering broadband services to aircraft around the world.

Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland, USA, Hughes operates sales and support offices worldwide, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), a premier global provider of satellite operations. For additional information about Hughes, please visit www.hughes.com and follow @Hughes_Corp on Twitter.