In December of ’23, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) teamed up with the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) for a series of demonstrations that shook things up in the world of airborne warfare.

This collab, part of the Adaptive Airborne Enterprise (A2E) concept, aimed to show just how much potential advanced unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have in changing the game for military ops.

Let’s dive into the highlights of these demos and what they could mean for the future of how we do air power.

Simultaneous Control of Multiple MQ-9A RPAs

First, they pulled off something pretty slick—controlling not one, not two, but three MQ-9A remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) at once.

Picture this: a single crewmember using the AFSOC RPA Control Suite (ARCS), keeping tabs on three birds simultaneously.

This ain’t your grandpa’s remote control plane operation.

With ARCS baked into the Ground Control Station (GCS), they managed to streamline operations and reduce the number of people needed to keep things flying smoothly. Efficiency? Check.

MQ-9A Launching Altius 600 from a Launch Pod

Then they did something that turned heads—they launched an Altius 600 straight from a launch pod hooked up to an MQ-9A.