GA-ASI Demonstrates Network Relay Using Laser Communications

San Diego December 1, 2022

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) completed a fully-networked demonstration using multiple Laser Communication terminals. The network included ground, mobile and airborne terminals. During the demonstration, a live video and audio feed of operators at each terminal was shared in the networked communication display.

Lasercomm is in demand for military applications because of its inherent Low Probability of Intercept/Low Probability of Detection (LPI/LPD) and anti-jam characteristics, and its ability to support much higher data rates (greater than 1 Gigabit per second) than traditional Radio Frequency (RF) systems.

“This fully networked lasercomm demonstration is a major milestone for GA-ASI and a significant achievement for the lasercomm community as it featured the extended use of this technology beyond point-to-point communications,” said GA-ASI Vice President of Mission Payloads and Exploitation, Satish Krishnan. “The successful execution of this demonstration shows how lasercomm can be utilized in an operational theater to truly provide LPI/LPD high-capacity comms for the warfighter.”

The demonstration took place at Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic located in Charleston, S.C., on Nov. 3, 2022, as part of a GA-ASI-funded test to highlight extended multi-point networking communications using lasercomm. During the demonstration, which was facilitated by organizers of NIWC Atlantic’s optical communications-focused Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX), the team maintained lasercomm links at 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and exchanged high quality video and voice data.

GA-ASI has developed a family of optical communication capabilities and is poised to play an important role in transitioning these capabilities to users in a variety of domains, from air to sea. Laser communications will enable GA-ASI’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to perform secure multi-domain communications to airborne, maritime, and ground users, as well as with future satellites.

This capability can be applied as a podded or fully integrated solution to GA-ASI’s full line of unmanned aircraft, including MQ-9B SkyGuardian®/SeaGuardian®, MQ-9A Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle 25M.