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First-Ever Live Demonstration of HeloSat on a Black Hawk Helicopter

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In the U.S. and allied nations, governments and militaries increasingly rely upon helicopters in fulfilling national security requirements and military mission sets -- from search and rescue to airborne command posts to emergency transport. One of the most commonly used rotary aircraft is the formidable Black Hawk, with more than 4,000 deployed worldwide. At the same time, to access important situational awareness in today’s tactical environments, commanders and their airborne teams must have technology that can transmit bandwidth-intensive Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) data and high-definition (HD) video to command centers on the ground.

Unfortunately, communicating Beyond Line of Sight (BLoS) from a helicopter presents technical challenges that can limit the use of rotary wing vehicles.

But not anymore.

Hughes has overcome these technical challenges with Hughes HeloSat™, the BLoS, enhanced communications technology that delivers uninterrupted, wideband full-motion video (FMV) communications by satellite, through the rotor blades.

Already tested across nearly a dozen rotary wing platforms, HeloSat is easy to install and now features a single antenna with near 360° visibility. With low Size, Weight and Power (SWAP), HeloSat is the only reliable, validated, wideband BLoS SATCOM capability for helicopters to transmit uninterrupted, full-motion video in real time.

HeloSat delivers:

  • Real-time, full-motion video for vital situational information.
  • Uninterrupted, high data-rate transmissions through the blades of a helicopter.
  • Multi-megabit capability.
  • Low SWaP.

On May 21, 2020, for the first time, Hughes demonstrated HeloSat technology aboard a Black Hawk helicopter. The helicopter – outfitted with HeloSat and a high-definition video camera – took off from Tullahoma, Tennessee and traversed the Tennessee landscape, sending real-time HD video intelligence, through the rotary blades, by satellite, back to ‘command’ and a live audience worldwide. To see a video of the demonstration, click here.

From today’s high-definition (1080p) FMV and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) cameras to tomorrow’s augmented reality, HeloSat, with its wideband SATCOM capabilities delivering multiple megabit per second, uninterrupted transmissions will help maximize the benefit from the onboard systems including EO/IR cameras or other high data rate sensors. It’s just one of the ways that Hughes Defense continues to innovate, adding new modular, open-systems technologies to support the next-generation airborne network.