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Airbus trials BLoS SATCOM for helicopters

8th September 2021 - 16:19 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Airbus tests mitigation measures to overcome the problem of helicopter rotor blades interfering with BLoS communications.

Airbus has successfully trialled beyond line-of-sight (BLoS) SATCOM helicopter communications in the US using its software-defined Proteus Unity Satellite Modem System on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

The trial ‘proves the ability to transmit and receive high data rate intelligence while on the move’, the company announced on 8 September.

Earlier, in September 2020, Airbus Helicopters in the UK successfully tested the modem system through the rotor blades of an H135 helicopter, showing efficiency of more than 80%.

Historically, interference from rotor blades has hindered the widespread rollout of BLoS communication systems for helicopters, so Airbus devised mitigation measures.

‘Proteus Unity addresses this challenge and provides a flexible waveform that mitigates interference by transmitting through the rotor blade disc. The modem system adapts to the environment it sees to ensure the most efficient, secure and resilient communications,’ said Richard Budd, head of UK & US secure communications at Airbus Defence and Space.

Proteus ‘also provides interoperability with other ground or maritime users in the network enabling real-time full-motion high-definition video, communications and intelligence to be sent and received on the move’, he added.

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