(02 Jun 2021) Honeywell has signed a memorandum of understanding with Carbonix, a leading Australian drone manufacturer, to provide its smallest and lightest satellite communications solution for their long-range fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
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 defense and civilian missions.
Carbonix is the first customer in the Asia-Pacific region to leverage Honeywell’s expertise and knowledge transfer in satcom solutions for UAVs.
“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. Honeywell is an industry leader in providing satcom solutions and we are thrilled to establish this working relationship with them,” said Stephen Pearce, CEO, Carbonix. “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.”
Traditionally, satellite communications systems have been available only for larger aircraft due to the size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements. Now, with a customizable design that’s 30% 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.
“We are honored for the opportunity to work with Carbonix to enhance their platform capabilities in providing long-range UAV solutions to their customers with our highest-performing, reliable and secure satellite communications solution for UAVs,” said Tim Van Luven, vice president, Defense Aftermarket Sales, Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific. “Our Small UAV SATCOM system is only one kilogram (2.2 pounds) 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. 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.”
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.
The 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.