Integrated Microwave Technologies LLC (IMT), a business unit within the Vitec Group’s Videocom Division and a leader in advanced digital microwave systems for MAG (Military, Aerospace & Government) markets, showcases its upgraded SkymasterTXDigital COFDM Video Downlink Transmitter at HELI-EXPO 2013 (Booth C3916). HELI-EXPO is the world's largest helicopter trade show and exposition dedicated to the advancement of the international helicopter community. The latest enhancements enable SkymasterTX to be either MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 capable, catering to those users with legacy receive systems. Due to its auto-detect functionality, SkymasterTX allows airborne aircraft to easily switch over from one receive site to another, while in flight.

IMT’s SkymasterTX is a lightweight, full-featured digital COFDM video downlink transmitter purpose built to address the unique requirements of aircraft downlink operations. The downlink transmitter has secure BCRYPT AES 128/256 encryption, ensuring seamless integration and interoperability with any standards-compliant equipment a customer may already have in his inventory. The chassis design features ARINC mounting, with all of the connections and controls located on one side of the unit. This allows users to remove SkymasterTX from one aircraft and install it in another with ease.

“IMT's upgraded SkymasterTX video downlink transmitter is another example of our commitment to the MAG market, and we are excited to showcase it at this year’s HELI-EXPO show,” says IMT Divisional Chief Executive Stephen Shpock. “The ability of SkymasterTX to support both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 systems is an important feature that protects our customers’ previous capital investments in earlier, legacy technologies while enabling them to take the advantage of the newest MPEG-4 encoding.”

A unique feature of SkymasterTX is its built-in GPS receiver, which allows aircraft position data to be downlinked to a command center for display on a moving map system. This also makes it easier to locate the aircraft rapidly.

SkymasterTX can operate in a wide variety of bands, and is capable of delivering SD and HD video resolutions. It can output up to 8W of RF power, extending and improving link reliability. SkymasterTX also features COFDM digital modulation which, unlike single-carrier modulation formats such as FM, CDL or QAM, is unaffected by multipath.

SkymasterTX comes equipped with a built-in H.264 (MPEG-4) encoder or optional MPEG-2 encoder. The latest encoding method, MPEG-4, requires a 50 percent less bit rate than MPEG-2, improving the reliability of the transmission. MPEG-4 encoding also allows users to transmit high definition video without sacrificing performance. Offering MPEG-2 enables the SkymasterTX to be compatible with legacy systems.

The front-panel LCD and remote-control user interface allow for quick control of preset selection, standby mode and encryption mode. For such advanced functions as changing frequency plans, AES encryption keys or unit naming, an easy-to-use administration software package is supplied. Configuration is flexible, with 16 or more different presets available.

Mounting to the airframe is flexible, with either horizontal or vertical ARINC trays. This gives users the option of mounting SkymasterTXto either the deck or a bulkhead in the aircraft.