Airborne Data Communication System
NAL Research has developed an Iridium Airborne Data Communication System (ADCS) for the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to be used on platforms such as the HC-130H, HU25A/C/D, C-130J, HH-60J, and HH-65B/C, and potentially the VC-37A, VUAV and MH-68A. The ADCS will enhance flight safety, increase Maritime Domain Awareness and benefit the entire range of USCG mission areas by providing command and control centers with a near real-time force lay down picture and more efficient air asset management.
The U.S. Department of Energy is funding the ARM-UAV program to study radiation/cloud interactions in atmosphere of the Earth. An important aspect of the program is the use of high altitude manned and unmanned airplanes as airborne instrumentation platforms. The Scaled Composites Proteus airplane shown here is capable of extended flight of well over 20 hours and at altitudes above 50,000 feet, making it possible to take continuous measurements with a set of well-calibrated instruments above the troposphere. NAL Research’s Iridium multi-channel data modems, installed inside a pod under the Proteus, are used to command/control onboard instruments by the ground mission controller. In addition, instrument health and status data files are also relayed in real-time via Iridium satellite link to the mission controller.
Blue Force Tracking
NAL Research’s 9601-DGS satellite trackers are used to monitor fleets of Apache and Chinook helicopters by the Department of Defence. They are installed inside the cockpit of each helicopter to relay real-time, encrypted location information to mobile and fixed command and control centers. The tracker can also be removed and used as an emergency beacon by downed crews for search and rescue purposes.
Fighter Aircraft C2 Enhancement
Lack of continuous beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) voice communications from ground C2 elements to fighter aircraft resulted in an initiative to fit NAL Research’s ruggedized A3LA modems inside the current wing-mounted ACMI pods.
Flight Termination System
Tracking of launch vehicles for range safety purposes is currently based on redundant ground radars, telemetry receivers, and uplink command transmitters at the launch site with additional assets deployed downrange in order to maintain line-of-sight communications with the vehicle as it passes over the horizon to orbital insertion. In a collaborative effort with NASA, NAL Research is developing a flight termination/flight recovery system using the Iridium 9601-DGS-LP tracker to potentially replace the current ground infrastructure.
High Altitude Balloon
Balloons have been used for decades to conduct scientific studies. Scientists at NASA use data collected during balloon flights to help answer important questions about the universe, atmosphere, the Sun and the space environment. NASA is developing pumpkin-shaped balloons capable of altitude of 120,000 feet and duration of 100 days. These balloons can range from 4 to 14 meters in diameter carrying payload weighing as much as 8,000 pounds. The payload consists of a solar power system, computers, batteries, sensors for science experiments and NAL Research’s Iridium modems. The modems are used for flight control of the payload as well as relaying real-time scientific data. After science mission is completed, commands are sent via Iridium to separate the payload from the balloon where it can be tracked, recovered and flown again.
Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
NAL Research developed and integrated an A3LA Iridium transceiver into an atmospheric airborne payload into the Hunter UAV for a project funded by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. The modem was used for two-way command/control and data dissemination of the payload.
Snow Goose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
The U.S. SOCOM sponsored “Snow Goose” is a unique guided parachute cargo system capable of deploying from a number of aircraft, to include the C-130, C-141, CH-47 and C17. The Snow Goose’s parachute opens upon deployment from the aircraft and, with the aid of an onboard engine, it can remain aloft for hours. The Snow Goose can deliver its cargo by landing at a designated time and place, or dispense cargo while still in flight, as directed via a laptop using an NAL Research’s Iridium data modem. An onboard flight control and navigation system tracks the location of the Snow Goose and an NAL Research’s Iridium satellite modem is used to command/control the operation of the unit. Iridium was chosen for its true global coverage, secure system architecture and real-time data communications capability.