Honeywell has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Carbonix, a leading Australian drone manufacturer, to provide its smallest and lightest satellite communications solution for its long-range fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle.
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The MOU agreement marks a significant milestone for Honeywell, as Carbonix is the first customer in the Asia-Pacific region to leverage Honeywell’s expertise and knowledge transfer in SATCOM solutions for UAVs.
Powered by Inmarsat’s global satellite communications network, the Honeywell Small UAV SATCOM system enables beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) command and control, real-time video streaming, and communication for defence and civilian missions.
Carbonix CEO Stephen Pearce said he was thrilled with the partnership with the industry leader in SATCOM solutions.
“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," Pearce added.
“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."
Traditionally, satellite communications systems have been available only for larger aircraft due to the size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements. Now, with a customisable design that's 30 per cent lighter than competing systems, Honeywell’s Small UAV SATCOM system can be installed in different locations on the vehicle to accommodate a wider range of platforms while ensuring safety of flight and avoiding unnecessary bulk.
Honeywell's Small UAV SATCOM system is only one kilogram and was designed specifically to bring some of the connectivity capabilities enjoyed by larger aircraft to smaller UAVs in the air, at sea or on land.
Tim Van Luven, vice president of defense aftermarket sales at Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific, has welcomed the opportunity to work with Carbonix to enhance its platform capabilities with a high-performing, long-range, reliable and secure satellite communications solution for UAVs.
"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,” Van Luven said.
The seamless connectivity delivered through Inmarsat’s satellite network enables BVLOS capabilities that allow unmanned aircraft to be operated remotely at scale, beyond the pilot’s field of view.
This technology can be used for a variety of applications, including long-range UAV inspections of linear infrastructure, where it is estimated to double or triple daily inspection capacity.
The combination of the Honeywell Small UAV SATCOM system and Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity can keep vehicles connected even in remote areas or over water where other ground-based communications systems, such as 4G, are not available.
Honeywell’s suite of satellite communications systems can provide operators, passengers and crew with reliable, consistent connectivity throughout the world. They serve a range of needs, including onboard connectivity for command and control and data, as well as fleet tracking and aircraft management.