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Unmanned Vehicles

Honeywell to install SATCOM on Australian UAV

2nd June 2021 - 02:00 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch

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Carbonix plans to install a small Honeywell SATCOM device on its Domani UAV. (Honeywell)

Honeywell is to gain a first Asia-Pacific customer for its smallest SATCOM solution.

Under an MoU signed between Honeywell and Australian UAV maker Carbonix, the latter will install a SATCOM solution on its fixed-wing UAV platform.

The MoU was announced at Land Forces 2021, and it is significant since this is the first time an Asia-Pacific customer has decided to install Honeywell’s smallest and lightest SATCOM on a UAV.

Honeywell’s solution, imaginatively called the Small UAV SATCOM, offers beyond-visual line-of-sight control, communication and real-time video streaming through Inmarsat’s satellite network.

Honeywell claims that its SATCOM device is 30% smaller than competitors’ equivalents, making it more amenable to installation on UAVs. Indeed, it weighs just 1kg and can be potentially installed in different locations on an airframe.

Stephen Pearce, Carbonix CEO, remarked: ‘Installing Honeywell’s Small UAV SATCOM solution provides our customers with the ability to capture high-quality data during long-endurance flights over remote locations. Our vertical take-off and landing fixed-wing drones are in the air for up to 10 hours, allowing for efficient, accurate and reliable large-scale data capture.’

Carbonix currently markets two different fixed-wing VTOL UAV platforms, both of which use all-electric propulsion. The Volanti has a 3.6m wingspan, 16kg maximum take-off weight and 2h flight endurance. The Domani is larger with a 4.5m wingspan, 32kg take-off weight and 10h flight endurance.

Presumably, the larger Domani is Carbonix’s UAV platform that will gain the SATCOM capability, since the Volanti can only carry a 1kg payload.

Tim Van Luven, VP of defence aftermarket sales at Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific, said, ‘This SWaP design combined with the comprehensive high-speed broadband coverage worldwide will provide the necessary capabilities for both fixed-wing and rotary-wing UAVs to fly longer, safer and connected, even when they fly beyond line of sight.’

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