Boeing has developed a new system for small unmanned aerial vehicles to function as radio signal repeaters, with the goal of extending communication ranges for military handheld radios.
The company said its Insitu subsidiary received four one-pound units following tests of the narrowband relay on the ScanEagle UAV.
Recently, ScanEagles helped carry out testing of technology where military operators control a fleet of UAVs using a radio and laptop.
NATO forces have used 1.6-pound Tactical Compact Communications Relay units in Afghanistan for transmitting and receiving encrypted and unencrypted voice and data over long distances and hard-to-reach terrains.
According to Boeing, the new and smaller units extend the communications range from less than 12 to more than more than 172 miles.