Alpha Unmanned Systems, a Spanish designer and manufacturer of remotely piloted gasoline-powered UAV helicopters, has been selected to participate in Inmarsat´s UAV Pop-up lab, a unique innovation programme exploring the value of satcoms in the commercial UAV sector.
Alongside six other UAV companies, Alpha Unmanned Systems will execute a range of missions using Inmarsat´s world leading, global satellite network, enabling Beyond Line of Sight operations and global resilient command and control capability for safer and more efficient flight operations.
As part of the Pop-up Lab, Alpha Unmanned Systems will integrate the Inmarsat connectivity services using the Cobham AVIATOR UAV 200 terminal onto its Alpha 800. The Alpha 800 is a tactical gasoline powered helicopter UAV that provides 3 hours of continuous flight with a 3 kg payload. It is equipped with the lightest and strongest airframe in its class and a military-grade autopilot with high precision GPS and sensors. The Alpha 800 was originally conceived for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and is now also used for many other services, including delivery of urgently needed supplies.
Using this equipment and services, Alpha will execute a Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) mission to deliver urgent medical supplies in a limited/no radio-frequency coverage area. The mission will utilize Inmarsat satcoms to enable long-range control and real-time video streaming from the Alpha 800 tactical helicopter UAV, aiding the precision delivery of sensitive cargo such as medical supplies. The 3-hour flight time of the Alpha 800 means that a very large area can be covered, and its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities allow for very precise control during missions.
Inmarsat´s satellite technology brings tremendous benefits for UAV missions in remote areas with poor terrestrial network coverage or rough terrains where radio line-of-sight is hard to achieve. Utilizing Inmarsat’s global L-band network, the Alpha 800 will be easily deployed to execute missions anywhere in the globe, ideal for humanitarian agencies and governments with a need for precision delivery of sensitive, time-critical cargo in remote areas.
Eric Freeman, CEO of Alpha Unmanned Systems said:
“Inmarsat´s satcom solution is great news for Alpha and our clients. Pilots can now execute longer missions, and in even more difficult terrain, while they themselves can be far from the Alpha 800 and its flight path.”
Jordan Picard, Digital Incubation Lead at Inmarsat, assured:
“We are delighted to work with companies such as Alpha Unmanned Systems to push the boundaries of innovation in the commercial UAV sector. We are especially interested in the Alpha 800 as a platform to deliver medical supplies in remote environments given its unique VTOL capability and now, its longer flight range enabled by satellite.”
Trial outcomes will be presented at a showcase event on May 30 2019 at Inmarsat’s headquarters.