Triggered by a client’s request for reliable yet affordable smartphone data connectivity, RUAG Aviation is developing a 4G LTE connectivity solution for VVIP helicopters. The company says it will offer the solution under an EASA STC.
“Our customer approached us with the request for an inflight helicopter cabin solution allowing them to have the same access to smartphone connectivity as they do when they are on the ground,” said Philippe Niquille, who leads the Helicopter Cabin Interiors center of excellence at RUAG Aviation in Emmen, Switzerland. “Their requirements include instant messaging, video calling, full social media interaction, live streaming and fast internet searches.”
Ground-based 4G LTE networks are accessed via a dedicated antenna that interfaces with the onboard router and wi-fi. RUAG Aviation said flight tests had proved the reliability of the network connection, even over remote and mountainous areas.
“By keeping the technology straightforward and strong, the RUAG Aviation STC represents a solution meeting the most stringent of requirements for the most demanding customers, yet being weight efficient,” said Niquille. “Traditionally, helicopter cabin interior connectivity has been coupled with costly, bulky and cumbersome satcom systems. Now RUAG Aviation VVIP customers have the potential to experience twice as fast and reliable connection at a significantly lower operating cost.”
The STC cites the Leonardo AW109, but RUAG Aviation says the technology could be adapted for additional platforms.
March 7, 2017