New Datalink for the New MQ-8C Firescout

Cubic Defense Applications is developing a new multiband digital data link system for the MQ-8CFire Scout unmanned helicopter.Cubic is developing the new datalink under a $3.7 million contract awarded by the MQ-8C prime contractor Northrop Grumman. The data link supports both Ku band and C band transmissions using dual data streams. The datalink is based on open standard waveforms to transfer data and stream video at high transfer rate.


“The MQ-8C multiband capability will enable warfighters to conduct simultaneous missions.” explains David S. Miller, Fire Scout program director for Cubic Defense Applications. The modular system architecture includes simple open-standard interfaces and a software-defined transceiver, providing a data link with a smaller size and weight and reduced power consumption than the system currently used on the MQ-8B variant which was also designed by Cubic and is used by the U.S. Central Command to provide full-motion video surveillance to ground forces in northern Afghanistan.

An integral component of the new system is Cubic’s Multiband Miniature Transceiver, or MMT. The MMT enables simultaneous Ku band and C band transmissions using dual data streams. The MMTs included in the Dual Channel Modem subassembly are small enough for Soldiers and Marines to carry in the webbing of their tactical vests.

Cubic Defense Applications is the defense systems business of Cubic Corporation.

Northrop Grumman awarded Cubic a $3.7 million development contract for a new multi-band digital datalink for the MQ-8C unmanned helicopter UAS. Photo: Northrop grumman

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