Portsmouth, 08 September 2021 – Airbus has successfully demonstrated beyond line of sight (BLOS) through the rotor blade communications using its Proteus Unity Satellite Modem System on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The trial which took place recently in Tennessee, USA, proves the ability to transmit and receive high data rate intelligence while on the move.
Interference for satcoms caused by rotor blades has long been a challenge for terminal designers and manufacturers.
“Mitigating interference is a highly complex and dynamic problem that has prevented widespread roll out of BLOS communications on rotorcraft. Proteus Unity addresses this challenge and provides a flexible waveform that mitigates interference by transmitting through the rotor blade disc. The modem system adapts to the environment it sees to ensure the most efficient, secure and resilient communications,” said Richard Budd, Head of UK & US Secure Communications at Airbus Defence and Space.
“Proteus provides a highly efficient throughput for wideband communications on rotor or fixed wing aero platforms. It also provides interoperability with other ground or maritime users in the network enabling real-time full motion high-definition video, communications and intelligence to be sent and received on the move,” Richard continued.
The trial follows on from a successful test that took place in the UK in September 2020. In partnership with Airbus Helicopters, the test showed the modem system working with over 80% efficiency through the rotor blades of an Airbus H135.
Unlike other rotor blade satcom systems, Airbus’ Proteus modem comprises an adaptive waveform that ‘senses’ the blade position with no input from the platform itself, and adapts the RF (radio frequency) transmission to always provide the optimum communications link. This unique feature of the Proteus system means reduced SWAP (size weight and power) and it is also quicker to install on platforms.
Airbus’ Proteus Unity modems are Software Defined Radios (SDR) which use frequency hopping, together with spreading, to enable satcoms through the rotor blades. Airbus’ range of high spec Proteus modems are available for fixed, land mobile, airborne and maritime platforms, and deliver maximum satellite bandwidth efficiency and data throughput while offering robust protection against interference (jamming) and interception. Proteus modems operate in star networks in wideband satcom and are band and antenna agnostic (C, X, Ku, Ka-Band).