Cobham SATCOM claims to have developed the world's smallest and lightest Inmarsat UAV satcom solution – the 1.45 kg AVIATOR UAV 200 – which was launched at XPONENTIAL 2016.
Redefining UAV satcom connectivity by integrating all components into one compact lightweight unit, the new system delivers Inmarsat Class 4 SwiftBroadband services in a low-SWAP package which is said to be 76 per cent lighter than existing comparable products. Mounted within the airframe and measuring 24cm x 16cm x 6cm, the Cobham AVIATOR UAV 200 delivers up to 200 kbps data and full, real-time control of data channels.
The AVIATOR UAV 200 has been introduced by Cobham to significantly enhance a Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle's (TUAV) performance, range and payload capability by enabling operators to take advantage of the higher speed connectivity from today's satellite networks. Applications, including military, border security enforcement, public safety, commercial use and scientific research.
Kim Gram, vice president of Cobham SATCOM's aeronautical business unit, said: "We are very pleased to introduce this revolutionary new solution for tactical UAVs, as it will provide these widely-used aircraft with a number of benefits for the first time and open up important opportunities within different applications in the field.
"Until now, the size, weight and power requirements of Inmarsat satcom hardware were too restrictive for smaller UAVs which depend upon lightweight components to maximize range, endurance and operational use. AVIATOR UAV 200 matches the connectivity and performance of larger, class-leading satcom systems, but in a far smaller, lighter and less power-demanding package."
With improved satcom technology, UAV operators can benefit from improved aircraft control and situational awareness, with the ability to make real-time route adjustments while simultaneously tracking the airframe. Operators also have a constant overview of on-board systems and structural integrity with real-time health monitoring. Better connectivity allows access to BLOS situational data and live streaming of imagery and video which expands the role of real-time scene surveillance UAVs.
Andy Start, President, Inmarsat Global Government, said, "This announcement is a further example of Inmarsat's leadership in the UAV industry. We have seen a global demand from military and government customers looking to increase the operational effectiveness of their TUAV platforms. Enabling Satcom on these small airframes really is a game changer.
"Increasingly, we are finding that our government customers around the world need to do more with highly challenged budgets. This product allows beyond line of sight flight and payload control for a wide range of small UAV platforms where previously this has simply not been possible. Adding the ability to extend their operational range significantly and provide access to real time situational data and video, it is a truly compelling package."