Inmarsat SwiftBroadband UAV to provide operational capability boost

8 May 2017: Inmarsat and Cobham SATCOM today announced the launch of the Inmarsat SwiftBroadband unmanned aerial vehicle (SB-UAV) satellite communications service, intended for use with the Cobham SATCOM AVIATOR UAV 200 terminal.

UAVs are the fastest-growing sector of the aerospace industry and governments are increasingly looking to harness the advantages that unmanned vehicles can provide.

The rapid development in technology and subsequent increase in capability now sees governments deploying UAVs in operations as diverse as border protection, surveying, infrastructure inspections, emergency services and police surveillance.

Demanding market

Shaun Flanagan, Sales Director at AERO-SATCOM, an Inmarsat channel launch partner for the new service, said: “Unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is one of the fastest growing markets for Mobile Satellite Services (MSS).

“Due to the constraints on equipment size, weight and power consumption for this type of aircraft, it is crucial that the providers of airborne MSS equipment and satellite services be creative in supporting the applications required by ISR operators.

“Cobham’s AVIATOR UAV 200 combined with SB-UAV, Inmarsat’s Class 4 SwiftBroadband service, allow AERO-SATCOM to meet the needs of this demanding market.

Smallest terminal

The AVIATOR UAV 200 redefines UAV satcom connectivity by integrating everything into one compact, lightweight box. Weighing just 1.45 kg, AVIATOR UAV 200 is 76% lighter than anything comparable on the market and a perfect fit for the smaller UAV’s favoured by governments.

Inmarsat has worked to complement this tiny terminal with the release of the SB-UAV service – an Inmarsat SwiftBroadband Class 4 service which provides up to 200 kbps data for full, real-time control of the UAV whilst also allowing real time image or video transfer in parallel.

Andrew Legg, Regional Director of Sales, Aero, at Cobham SATCOM, said: “We are extremely excited to be working with Inmarsat on providing the AVIATOR UAV 200 Satcom terminal and its associated service, SB-UAV to the unmanned aerial vehicle industry.

Significant interest

“There is significant interest in the product capability from within the industry globally as OEMs and operators recognise the value of the highly reliable all-weather data connectivity solution operating on the established and well-proven Inmarsat network. The low weight of the system and its resulting applicability on even the smaller long range UAVs means it is a true platform BLOS capability multiplier.”

Andy Start, President of Inmarsat Global Government, said: “We determined that a key enabler for the effectiveness of increased UAV deployment in the government market lay in the efficient transfer of information between these vehicles and decision makers.

“By extending the ability to retrieve information off a UAV beyond line of sight, the value of each sortie is extended exponentially – allowing increased operational agility through substantially improved situational awareness.”

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