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Heron AirBridge and Inmarsat Partner for Unmanned Aviation

Heron Airbridge
Credit: Heron Airbridge

Ibadan, 24 March 2023. – Heron AirBridge has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to join Inmarsat’s Velaris Partner Network (VPN) to collaboratively develop regulatory and operational frameworks and technologies for the safe management of drones in urban environments and complex airspaces. The parties signed the MoU during Drone Asia 2023 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center. Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Transport, Sustainability and the Environment, also attended the signing event as the Guest of Honour.

The partnership will enable Heron AirBridge and Inmarsat to combine their unique capabilities and showcase how satellite-based technology can support the safe integration of uncrewed aircraft into Singapore’s commercial airspace. Furthermore, Inmarsat will provide Heron AirBridge with its low size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) terminals to deliver the secure datalink necessary for beyond visible line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations. This signifies the first application of Velaris technology in the Asia Pacific region.

Speaking on the partnership, Ryan Lee, CEO and co-founder of Heron AirBridge, said, “It is a major step towards increasing UAV integration into the city’s crowded airspace and updating regulations so that our efforts can be replicated worldwide. Inmarsat was a vital partner in powering the movement with Velaris by ensuring that we have the core network and datalink capabilities necessary to drive UAV integration”

Likewise, Joel Klooster, senior vice president of aircraft operations and safety at Inmarsat, added, “together with Heron, we are creating a blueprint for the integrated airspace of the future. Leveraging Inmarsat’s Velaris technology, coupled with Heron’s regional domain expertise, will ensure operators of airspace and UAVs have the tools needed to drive regulatory acceptance in the region and beyond.”

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