Honeywell has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Carbonix, an 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 defence and civilian missions.
The MOU agreement marks a significant milestone for Honeywell as Carbonix is the first customer in the Asia-Pacific region to partner with it 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,” Stephen Pearce, CEO of Carbonix, said. “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 requirements.
“Our Small UAV SATCOM system is only one kilogram 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," Tim Van Luven, vice president, Defence Aftermarket Sales, Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific, said. "This 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 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.
This 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, according to Honeywell.