Thuraya, the Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) subsidiary of the UAE-based global satellite company, Yahsat, and SCOTTY Group, a developer of beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) satellite communication solutions based in Austria, announced on 30 April 2020 that they have secured line-fit offerability for the Thuraya Aero mobile connectivity solution on Airbus H145 and H135 helicopters.
For the first time, Airbus customers can install and customize their Thuraya Aero kit when ordering new aircraft. The system will be fitted on the production line, with no need for further tests and verification. The aircraft will be ready to use on delivery, with voice and data connectivity fully functioning. This means that it can be deployed immediately to deliver mission-critical capabilities. There is no need to have the aircraft grounded for months after delivery in order to retrofit communication systems.
Thuraya Aero is an in-flight connectivity and data-sharing platform that uses mobile satellite communications to provide internet access, text messaging, phone calls, VOIP, video and audio conferencing as well as aerial surveillance, especially for BLOS missions. Thuraya and SCOTTY showcased the solution’s live streaming capabilities at Dubai Air Show in November 2019, wherein surveillance data and video were transmitted to Dubai from an airborne Airbus H145 helicopter in Germany. Real-time streaming was made possible by Thuraya’s L-band satellite network, which enables transmission over vast geographical areas. Thuraya has also demonstrated the advanced features of its aero mobility system to key UAE government customers.
Sulaiman Al Ali, Deputy CEO of Thuraya, said, “We are delighted to have achieved this milestone for Thuraya Aero. Line-fit certification, which undergoes a rigorous compliance process, is a testament to the reliability and robustness of our network and airborne satellite communications services. It is of paramount importance to our government customers to access onboard communication as soon as they take possession of their new aircraft so they are ready in their mission-critical duties. We are thankful for the steadfast support of our partner, SCOTTY Group and the guidance received from Airbus, both of whom contributed enormously to us reaching this momentous goal.”
Thuraya Aero enables critical connectivity for operations such as SAR (search and rescue), ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), telemedicine, monitoring military operations, office-in-the-sky and border surveillance. With video transmission and encryption systems pre-integrated into its SDU (satellite data unit), the solution makes airborne communications more secure. The more compact integration also optimizes space utilization. In addition, the Aero has built-in video transmission capability that offers real-time video streaming through on-board HD camera systems, enhancing its appeal for ISR and SAR aircraft as well as other air systems.
Mark Robert Henning, Senior Program Manager H145, welcomed the addition of Thuraya Aero to the roster of Airbus line-fit options, “Holding line-fit offerability is crucial for customers who want to avoid post-delivery retrofit modification which can ground a plane for several months. Thuraya’s aero mobility solution will give our customers new cost- and time-effective connectivity choices for their Airbus H145 and H135 helicopters.”
Kurt Kerschat, CEO of SCOTTY Group, said, “Line-fit offerability is a great accomplishment for Thuraya Aero and SCOTTY Group. Being listed as a supplier with Airbus Helicopters and meeting all the necessary compliance standards for airborne hardware equipment such as DO-160 is a phenomenal achievement, of which we are all proud.”