General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI) has announced ground testing of its Airborne Laser Communication System (ALCoS), linking with a satellite in Geo-synchronous Earth Orbit (GEO), the company said.
GA-ASI conducted the test with Tesat-Spacecom (TESAT), the leader of space-based laser communication (lasercom), using their GEO Laser Communication Terminal (LCT), the LCT 135. This was the first demonstration of an air-to-space lasercom system with Size, Weight and Power (SWAP) that is compatible with a Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA).
GA-ASI tested the ALCoS from an optical observatory located on Tenerife in the Canary Islands and closed link with TESAT´s LCT 135 terminal onboard the GEO satellite Alphasat. The test successfully demonstrated acquisition and tracking, and sufficient power to close the link with the LCT 135. GA-ASI is completing the development of the flight system for use on a GA-ASI-produced MQ-9 RPA.
ALCoS is the result of a five-year, GA-ASI-funded effort to deliver Low Probability of Intercept (LPI), Low Probability of Detect (LPD) communications link to the MQ-9. With 300 times the data carrying capacity of conventional RF SATCOM systems, ALCOS will be able to operate as a gateway to the Joint Aerial Network for forward-deployed forces.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator RPA series and the Lynx Multi-mode Radar.