GALT Aerospace (GALT) and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) have been downselected by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) for the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) SkyTower 2 (ST2) Airborne Network Extension (ANE) capability for the MQ-9A Reaper. The GALT-SNC team is the only finalist competitively downselected to proceed into Phases 2 and 3, delivering ST2 to the USMC. GALT, a non-traditional, service-disabled-veteran-owned small business, partnered with SNC in 2021. The team was downselected for ST2 Phase 1 (design) among numerous industry submissions in late 2022. As the only team competitively downselected for Phases 2 and 3, the GALT-SNC team now begins an 18-month prototype development, test and flight certification effort before full-rate production begins in October 2024.
“As the defense industrial base consolidates, SNC is focused on expanding capacity and ensuring more small and mid-tier companies have the opportunity to compete. Our relationship with GALT has shown that the DOD is willing and able to look beyond the large primes to find the innovative, agile and cost-effective solutions needed to achieve the mission,” said Brady Hauboldt, SNC’s vice president of business development.
“As a small business, we are thrilled to be the sole downselect for the ST2 program against some very competitive, traditional, large defense contractors. This is a major win for GALT, and a significant win for non-traditional defense contractors in the industry. We look forward to continuing our mission to provide innovative, open, scalable and tailorable communications architectures, rapid prototyping and user experience designs direct to the warfighter,” said GALT Chief Operations Officer Mark Kempf.
The Multi-Mission Tactical Unmanned Air System Program Office (PMA-266) intends to award the contract under an Other Transaction Agreement/Authority (OTA). OTA is a contract vehicle used by the government to streamline research and development and prototyping. The GALT-SNC ST2 solution provides tactical operational communications and data sharing capabilities for the execution of an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) concept of operations. The ST2 pod is built by SNC and hosts an expansive, best-of-breed communications suite selected for integration by GALT.
As a Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) enabler, ST2 facilitates the retransmission, cross-banding and translation of data across gateway-connected networks, making mission-critical information accessible across domains. The GALT-SNC team took a flexible approach to its design, working to ensure its ST2 solution supports the USMC’s immediate needs, adapts to future operating environments and evolves with advancements in technology. The team’s Modular Open Systems Approach also allows for potential integration of third-party applications and hardware upgrades. Following a recent visit to GALT headquarters in San Diego, PMA-266 Program Manager Dennis Monagle shared his excitement for the program and “the super innovative technology that will take the USMC to new heights in their mission.”