Textron, Inc.’s [TXT] AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems unit and ViaSat, Inc. [VSAT] have entered into a strategic alliance aimed at developing and maturing beyond-line-of-sight satellite communications capabilities for current and next-generation UAS aircraft made by AAI.
“This new phase of the AAI UAS relationship is completely in synch with our intent to continue delivering industry leading broadband performance over ultra-small-aperture airborne satellite communication systems,” Paul Baca, vice president and general manager of ViaSat Global Mobile Broadband, said in a statement. “And our private satellite network services can deliver the dedicated bandwidth needed to distribute tactical UAS video throughout the battlespace.”
The two companies, along with Textron’s Overwatch business, already collaborate on the Forward Airborne Secure Transmission and Communication (FASTCOM) system, which is an end-to-end, mobile cellular network that accommodates Top Secret smart phone communications. With the new strategic alliance, the companies can improve on FASTCOM with additional third- and fourth-generation capability to further enhance battlefield communications, Textron said.