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Leidos Special Mission Aircraft to feature ThinKom phased array antenna

19th November 2021 - 16:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Computer-generated image of the Leidos Special Mission Aircraft. (Photo: Leidos)

A modified Bombardier Challenger 650 will embark on its first test flight in early 2022 equipped with the ThinAir Ka2517 phased-array antenna.

The Leidos Special Mission Aircraft (LMSA) on offer to the US Army for airborne ELINT will be equipped with the ThinAir Ka2517 phased-array antenna from ThinKom Solutions.

ThinKom stated on 15 November that the low-profile Ka-band aero satellite antenna system, which is being integrated with a US military-compliant modem, ‘provides real-time, reliable and resilient broadband transmission to and from the aircraft in flight’.

Matthew Pfrommer, VP of airborne solutions at Leidos, described the satellite antenna as ‘an important enabling technology’ for the LSMA platform.

The agile antenna — based on VICTS phased-array technology from ThinKom — can also interoperate ‘seamlessly’ with satellites in geostationary and non-geostationary orbits for worldwide connectivity, ThinKom added.

The low-profile radome minimises in-flight drag, resulting in lower fuel consumption and longer time on station without refuelling.

Leidos designed and developed a demonstrator LSMA based on a COTS Bombardier Challenger 650 airframe, modified to carry an extensive electronic sensing suite to deliver long-range precision surveillance outside the range of hostile air defence systems.

LSMA is being offered to the US Army under a company-owned and company-operated model, with full maintenance from Leidos.

The company eyes a first test flight in early 2022 with the ThinKom phased array.

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