Creating a reliable and high-bandwidth satellite communications system for rotorcraft is a complicated equation. High-powered rotor blades, plus a high-vibration environment, equaled spotty coverage and bad service.
Despite the challenges, helicopter operators have been clamoring for these services in support of a variety of missions, including HEMS, law enforcement, search and rescue, and executive/VIP transport.
Honeywell, leveraging its market-leading position in the airborne satellite communications (satcom) market, has solved the problem. Using a high-data rate (HDR) software package, the Aspire® 200 Satellite Communications System reduces the impacts of rotorblade interference to create a high-bandwidth environment for helicopter operators worldwide. The Aspire 200 Intermediate Gain (IG) system has been awarded a FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) for AgustaWestland’s AW139 platform, the first rotorcraft certification utilizing this newly developed Inmarsat HDR service. Honeywell worked with its partners Safran and ProStar Aviation on the STC.
“The Aspire 200 system can transmit more data, faster than any other L-Band system on the market, creating a cost-effective, lightweight and highly capable system for helicopter operators,” said Tom Hart, Vice President, Honeywell Defense and Space.
The HDR-enhanced Aspire 200 enables up to 500 Kbps per channel, enabling mission critical, in-flight voice and data transmissions for the crew and passengers.
Honeywell is working on STCs for several more helicopter platforms. Additionally, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) STC for the AW139 is forthcoming.