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Telespazio to Equip Leonardo Helicopters With Hughes-Built Satcom Capability

Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo and Thales, will equip the helicopters developed by the Italian aerospace company with Hughes Network Systems-made satellite communication system to connect the aircraft with the JV’s ground station in Fucino, Italy.

Hughes said Monday its HeloSat beyond-line-of-sight satcom capability will be installed on the Leonardo SW-4 Solo optionally piloted/rotorcraft uncrewed system and other helicopters to provide Athena-Fidus Ka-band connection.

HeloSat is designed to support the transfer and receipt of real-time high definition video and other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and situational awareness data. It uses the Hughes HM100 gateway and the HM400 modem.

Aside from rotary wing aircraft, the satcom offering can also be used on airplanes, unmanned aerial vehicles, ships and land-mobile platforms because of its open standards architecture.

“Hughes technology, advanced waveform and in-flight experience deliver multi-megabit-per-second speeds through rotary blades without packet loss – a competitive advantage for military and commercial helicopter applications,” said Alessandro Caranci, vice president and head of satcom line of business at Telespazio.

Rick Lober, vice president and general manager of Hughes Defense, cited the company’s decades-long partnership with Telespazio and highlighted its HeloSat demonstration with a Leonardo AW139 helicopter as well as the new opportunity to provide satcom capability.

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