GA-ASI and USMC complete MQ-9A WTI training using SkyTower I pod

GA-ASI and USMC complete MQ-9A WTI training using SkyTower I pod

San Diego – May 16, 2024 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) will conduct flight training to operate the MQ-9A Block 5 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for maritime aviation weapons and tactics. We have partnered to implement this. 1st Squadron (MAWTS-1), Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. The students participated in Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) courses 2-24. This is a comprehensive course designed for selected pilots and noncommissioned officers that incorporates Marine Corps planning and implementation of advanced air and ground tactics.

The seven-week course, completed on April 20, 2024, included the first deployment of GA-ASI’s SkyTower I pod. This is a USMC-specific payload for the MQ-9A that provides airborne communications enhancement capabilities in a variety of waveforms. . SkyTower I provides airborne network extension capabilities to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), a commercial quality WiFi network, and relay/repeater functionality to connect geographically dispersed teams.

“Congratulations to all the new WTI students,” said Patrick Shortsleeve, GA-ASI vice president of Defense Strategic Development. “GA-ASI is proud to support the training of MAWTS-1 aircrews in the use and utility of the MQ-9A platform, especially utilizing SkyTower capabilities.”

WTI courses are particularly well-known for their advanced graduate-level training that sharpens tactical skills and strategies for air operations. It is an essential part of developing and implementing cutting-edge aviation weapons and tactics in both land and sea environments.

During a recent training scenario, Marines had the opportunity to hone their skills using the MQ-9A provided by GA-ASI. This platform will provide valuable hands-on experience in advanced UAS operations and enhance her ability to effectively utilize her MQ-9A in a variety of missions.

With comprehensive training and expertise, graduates of the WTI program are prepared to become the go-to experts within their squadrons for MQ-9A Block 5 employment. This program ensures that graduates are well-prepared to accurately and efficiently utilize this sophisticated platform to command and execute missions.

This training is an important part of the MAGTF Unmanned Expeditionary (MUX) Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) program to meet Full Operational Capability (FOC). GA-ASI is a dedicated partner in helping USMC achieve this important program milestone.

GA-ASI has so far delivered 13 MQ-9A UAS to the USMC. The U.S. Marine Corps is awaiting delivery of seven additional aircraft, which will help it reach its goal of three squadrons by 2025.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is an affiliate of General Atomics and produces the Predator® RPA series and Lynx® multimode radars. With more than 8 million flight hours, GA-ASI provides durable, mission-capable aircraft with the integrated sensor and datalink systems necessary to provide persistent situational awareness. The company also manufactures a variety of sensor control and image analysis software, provides pilot training and support services, and develops metamaterial antennas.

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Avenger, Lynx, Predator, SeaGuardian, and SkyGuardian are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

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