Leonardo helicopters flying throughout Italy will benefit from connectivity from Hughes and Telespazio

Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo and Thales, has selected the Hughes HeloSat solution for satellite communications for Leonardo’s helicopters.

The solution combines the Hughes HM100 gateway and the HM400 modem for satcom on-the-move with technical support and systems integration. Once installed on Leonardo helicopters, HeloSat enables connectivity through-the-rotor using the Athena-Fidus Ka-band satellite capacity via the Telespazio ground station in Fucino, Italy.

“Building on a decades-long collaboration with Telespazio, last year we demonstrated our HeloSat technology with no packet loss through the blades of a Leonardo AW139 helicopter; now we are delivering a turnkey solution,” said Rick Lober, Vice President and General Manager, Hughes Defense. “With low size, weight and power, HeloSat is the only reliable, validated, wideband beyond-line-of-sight satcom capability for helicopters to transmit uninterrupted, full-motion video in real time.”

“For the fixed-wing and rotary-wing avionics market, Telespazio has chosen to create a technological team of companies with the best solutions on the market. The approach is to solve all the issues related to an avionic satellite solution by providing: teleport services, on-board technologies, ground technologies and space capacity on satellites most suited to the proposal.

“Our approach was to solve all problems connected with satellite avionics solutions by providing teleport services, on-board satellite antennas, baseband technology and space capacity on the satellites most suited to the proposal,” added Alessandro Caranci, Vice President and Head of Satcom Line of Business, Telespazio.  “When we searched for a technology that could ensure connectivity under the rotor of a helicopter we asked our strategic partner Hughes for a proof of concept; together with them we designed a solution that is currently unique in the market. Our partnership with Italiana Ponti Radio, on the other hand, has enabled us to offer an outstanding Italian solution for small Ka band and Ku band satellite antennas that meet all integration requirements – of fundamental importance on aerial platforms.”

In particular, Italiana Ponti Radio contributed a 31cm Ka band antenna to the project. This represents an important milestone for the company, which this year added to its certification for 37cm Ku band avionics antennas with the satellite operator Eutelsat.

“Italiana Ponti Radio has supplied Leonardo with communication technologies for many years, but the partnership proposed by Telespazio has enabled our company to come back to LHD with an integrated solution,” stated Antonio Salomone, President of IPR.

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