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Some field communications environments call for the most compact and lightweight portable equipment possible. As the inventor of the original VSAT (very small aperture terminal), as well as the world’s smallest and lightest Inmarsat BGAN high data rate (HDR)-capable terminal, Hughes knows a thing or two about small.
That’s one reason why Airbus Defence and Space has chosen Hughes as its terminal development partner for an ultra-compact and lightweight X-band satellite terminal for a new Airbus service named XeBRA (Zee-brah). Utilizing Hughes innovative modem and waveform technology, the less-than-12 lb. terminal provides an ultra-lightweight portable voice and data capability suitable for tactical military environments. Key to service delivery is the use of Airbus Defence and Space’s global X-band military communi- cations satellite system (Skynet), whose unique features enable superior mobility with all the security benefits of X-band.
“The high power and unique beam-forming capabilities of our four Skynet 5 satellites mean we can provide reliable and secure high-broadband-speed X-band services to small terminals. With this small, proven X-band terminal from Hughes, we can enhance the mobility of users in the field,” said Colin Paynter, Head of Airbus Defence and Space UK.
First of its kind, the terminal is ideal for transmitting full- motion video via secure remote access. Weighing in at less than 12 lbs (5.4 kg) and approximately 3 x 10 x 9 inches
(8 x 25.8 x 23 centimeters) in size, the terminal is the smallest X-band terminal available and can deliver up to 512 kbps through the Skynet 5 system, which is enough to transmit high-quality videoconferencing or online streaming services. It is easily stowable and man-portable for transport on foot for Communications-on-the-Pause (COTP) operations.
“Given our work on specialized waveforms and longtime lead- ership in VSAT technology,” said Rick Lober, vice president and general manager of Hughes Defense and Intelligence Systems Division, “it was just a matter of time for us to come up with this new “microsat” modem concept, which combines attributes of small size and low cost in a highly versatile package that’s readily adapted for vehicular and airborne communications-on-the-move applications. We are excited to work with the Airbus team on productizing it and the first practical application.”
The Hughes terminal is highly reliable and can operate with stan- dard military battery packs. Satellite pointing and acquisition are easily achieved using a built-in LCD screen and adjustable stand that allows the terminal to maintain connectivity and throughput in harsh environmental conditions.
For mobile field communications, when small really counts, the ultra-compact satellite terminal from Hughes for portable X-band service will really pack a punch for Airbus Defence and Space’s new XeBRA service.
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