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Iridium Satellites to Power Euro Coast Guard

Governments Cottoning to Internet Connectivity At Last

SKYTRAC Systems Ltd has been chosen by Nova System to provide mission-critical satcom solutions in support of a handful of European Coast Guard programs. 

The deal will see Nova Systems install upgraded SAR systems in a series of AW189 and AW139 helicopters, which will now include a SKYTRAC SDL-350 satcom system and MTC-100 control unit. The upgrades will improve the all-around capability and performance of the aircraft when used in a Search & Rescue role, now even more effective with continued cellular connectivity. Iridium's flagship Certus broadband network offers some passable numbers in terms of internet connectivity, with a speed of "up to 704 Kbps downlink and 352 Kbps uplink". Combined with 4G LTE cell connections, that's enough for data and voice transmissions as needed for the mission. With the SKYTRAC suite installed, aircraft will have automated flight following, Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT), EO/IR video transmission, and Certus broadband internet. While in-flight internet is quickly moving from a nicety to an essential on the civilian side of aviation, governments have remained unexcited to plop down the funds required. The Iridium upgrade will allow Coast Guard operations to plan flights, update data mid-flight, and communicate in much more efficient and effective methods than their outgoing radio-only kit ever provided.

“At Nova Systems, our team has a proven record of working to deliver bespoke solutions with our clients. We are always looking for ways to help meet our client’s needs by incorporating leading-edge technology into their systems, and SKYTRAC’s SDL-350 provided us a great opportunity to do so,” said Ronnie Trasler, General Manager of Aerospace Integration at Nova Systems. “The powerful capabilities the SDL-350 enables are a wonderful fit for this mission.”

SKYTRAC is continuing to pad out the functions of the SDL-350, looking to further enhance its offerings with software improvements as they go. Next up on the list of features will be real-time flight data monitoring (FDM) and real-time health and usage monitoring (HUMS). That will allow operators and headquarters to wirelessly offload data post-flight and provide real-time in-flight notifications of exceedances or anomalies. Once available, they'll meetInternational Association of Oil and Gas Producers 690 standards for offshore helicopter operations.

“We are proud to be able to support this program and work alongside Nova Systems to provide next-generation mission systems for multiple programs,” said Jeff Sherwood, Director of Business Development. “The SDL-350 provides unmatched performance and mission-critical connectivity for rotorcraft operators involved in Coast Guard and SAR operations.”



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