Skytrac SATCOM solution climbs aboard French H160Ms
Airbus Helicopters has selected the SDL-700 SATCOM system from Canadian company Skytrac for inclusion with the French Joint Light Helicopter (HIL) programme.
HIL will see the H160M replace five helicopter types currently operated by the French armed forces (SA 341/342 Gazelle, Alouette III, AS 365 Dauphin SP and AS 555 Fennec), with the defence procurement agency DGA ordering 169 helicopters in December 2021.
The new platform will be designated 'Guépard' (Cheetah). Deliveries will begin in 2027 and the aircraft will be shipped in batches.
Skytrac announced on 12 July that the H160Ms will be ‘factory-equipped’ with the SDL-700 for broadband Low Earth Orbit satellite connectivity.
SDL-700 is a SATCOM terminal, data acquisition, and onboard server system that uses the Iridium Certus broadband connectivity service to provide up to 704Kbps of bandwidth via a high-gain antenna.
A dual-element GPS antenna will also be installed aboard the H160M
Altogether, these technologies will enable ‘live video streaming, image and large file transfer, satellite voice, text, and Push-to-Talk (PTT), and Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) automation,’ said Jan van der Heul, VP of sales at Skytrac.
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