The United States Marine Corps successfully tested the data transmission of the new Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) Satellite Communications (SATCOM) capability for the MQ-25 Stingray using the UH-1Y helicopter. The initial flight was completed on April 26 at Pax River, and the test proved MOUS connectivity, resilience, and viability using a maneuvering aircraft.

The MQ-25 Stingray team is testing the unmanned air system’s software and hardware capabilities in labs at both Patuxent River and Webster Outlying Field in Maryland. Credit: U.S. Navy

The team involved in the testing process consisted of members from both the Dedicated Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) Development Environment (DUDE) lab at Webster Outlying Field in St. Inigoes, Maryland, and the Communications Systems Integration Laboratory (CSIL) at Pax River. They transmitted data utilizing unique test equipment to the UH-1Y during flight.

Capt. Daniel Fucito, Unmanned Carrier Aviation (PMA-268) program manager, said, “This type of testing is a way to show how two very different programs can team up and develop capabilities together.”

The new MUOS communications satellite system provides global connectivity to military networks. The next generation of the system works much faster and has additional payloads that support new waveform capabilities and compatibility with the legacy UHF satellite communications systems.

UH-1Y pilots from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 conduct an initial flight to test the data transmission of the new Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) Satellite Communications (SATCOM) capability for MQ-25 Stingray April 26 at Pax River. Credit: U.S. Navy

“Testing MUOS with H-1 will facilitate the MQ-25 test infrastructure development and ensure MUOS connectivity configuration,” said Ray Belcher, MQ-25 Integrated Test Team communications lead. “It also provides an opportunity for the PMA-268 program team to observe MUOS flight characteristics.”

The MQ-25 Stingray is set to be the first operational, carrier-based unmanned aircraft in the world. It will provide aerial refueling as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities that will enhance the carrier air wing and carrier strike group.

The successful completion of the initial flight test is a significant step toward the MQ-25 Stingray’s full integration and implementation. The testing process will continue to ensure that the new satellite communication system can work efficiently and effectively with the UH-1Y helicopter and other unmanned aircraft systems.

As military technology continues to advance, collaboration between different programs becomes increasingly vital. The joint testing of the UH-1Y and the MUOS communications satellite system is an example of successful cooperation and innovation that will benefit the U.S. military and its operations in the future.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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