Small UAS with loud “voices”

The clients – especially ground forces – want their small unmanned air systems (UAS) to have a greater operational range. That can be accomplished through better communications that do not rely on line-of-sight.

Israeli companies recognise the need and are working on solutions. One unveiled last week is a system developed by Gilat Satellite Networks – a leading Israeli satellite communications company.

Gilat released the first details of its new lightweight integrated airborne satellite communications solution for UAS.

According to the Israeli company the system weighs only 22lb (10.5kg), and is capable of transmitting 1mbps of IP-based data.

The system comprises of a ruggedised spread-spectrum satellite modem, a two-way, on-the-move, flat panel tracking antenna, a compact 40W Ku-band block up-converter and a power amplifier.

The company claims that the tightly integrated solution provides a lightweight, compact and low-power terminal that is ideal for airborne applications and can be tailored to meet varied end-user specifications and requirements.

The miniature dimensions of the solution allow beyond line-of-sight operations for very small UAS platforms.

The UAS terminal utilises commercial, geostationary satellite capacity to provide full-duplex satellite communication, linking the UAS to its remote control facility. The forward link provides command and control capabilities, while the return link transfers sensor data.

The terminal provides spectrum-efficient IP connectivity, adaptive in real time to varying link conditions and operational in temperatures ranging from -40°C to +60°C.

It is obvious that the effort to allow small UAS to relay data from greater ranges is only in its first stages. However, according to what happens in the industry we may expect some very meaningful developments.

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