GA-ASI debuts new Block 50 Ground Control Station with MQ-9 Reaper flight
The U.S. Air Force’s new Block 50 Ground Control Station (GCS) – developed by Poway, CA-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) – for the first time controlled an MQ-9 Reaper on January 8 from the GA-ASI Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, CA, GA-ASI announced February 26.
The Block 50 GCS cockpit for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) is designed with improved capabilities through an optimized Human Machine Interface (HMI) that significantly enhances aircrew situational awareness and allows for single seat operations. It integrates multi-level security feeds with onboard sensors to display a comprehensive picture of the battlespace and incorporates improved information assurance capabilities that protect against cybersecurity risks.
“This is an exciting milestone for the Block 50,” said David Alexander, president, GA-ASI. “With the Block 50, we’re developing a GCS that will reduce manpower requirements and support future missions in complex operating environments.”
The design of the Block 50 provides separation of flight critical components to increase flight safety posture, enable rapid testing and integration of new mission capabilities, the company said.