Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space launches the next generation airborne satcom terminal - AirPatrol


  • Light weight, carbon composite design, with high data throughput

  • Compatible with all types of aircraft, including UAVs

  • Designed to operate in the most demanding conditions


Farnborough, 20 July 2010 Airbus Defence and Space has today launched an innovative airborne terminal – AirPatrol – designed to provide end users with a light-weight, high performance communications module capable of operating in the most demanding conditions.


Developed by Airbus Defence and Space’ Secure Satcom Systems, which has over 25 years of experience in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of advanced satcom terminals, AirPatrol is compatible with all types of aircraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).


The terminal incorporates carbon composite materials into the antenna design. The use of carbon composites permit a higher level of radio frequency (RF) path integration, resulting in improved performance when compared with standard aluminium antennas; exceptional 20Mbps data rates have been demonstrated at X-band, using the standard 60cm dish, in some cases providing at least three times the capacity of a standard antenna.


AirPatrol has been developed in response to the growing demand from military and other customers who are increasingly reliant on the secure transmission of video, multispectral and radar imagery, particularly from UAVs. AirPatrol’s capacity to transmit large volumes of data ensures that it is possible to stream live images from UAV reconnaissance missions directly to ground based receivers.


The light-weight design of the terminal, made possible with the use of composite materials, means that AirPatrol can be much more easily integrated onto a variety of aircraft than its heavier alloy alternatives. A typical configuration of AirPatrol weighs just 16kg, ensuring that the terminal has a minimum impact on an aircraft’s overall flight performance.


With the capability to operate over Ku, Ka and X bands, AirPatrol can be configured to operate as a communications platform for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR), or as dual communications and control system providing beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) control for the user.


AirPatrol benefits from an advanced stabilisation system that is designed to handle complex airborne manoeuvres, so that the antenna always remains accurately pointed to maintain a secure communication link at all times.


The flexibility of AirPatrol also provides the opportunity to support civil applications, such as coastguard patrols, emergency and rescue services and policing international borders. 


Aidan Joy, Managing Director of Secure Satcom Systems, speaking at the launch of AirPatrol during the Farnborough International Airshow said:

“We have spent over a quarter of a century working closely with our customers to remain at the cutting edge of assured communications, with AirPatrol representing an effective solution to the increasing demand for data transmission over airborne platforms, particularly UAVs.

“The use of light weight composites, the robust design and the ease of integration means that our latest product offering is a high performing, low maintenance, cost effective and highly flexible option for the most challenging operational environments.”


AirPatrol is the latest example of Airbus Defence and Space’s position as the leading European supplier of dual use and high-security satellite communications equipment and networks, with decades of experience in the design, manufacture and test of hardened spacecraft and high-technology secure communications systems.


Airbus Defence and Space’ Secure Satcom Systems provides a full range of land, air and naval terminals including the renowned family of SCOT terminals that have been procured by 11 navies worldwide and have provided 24/7 connectivity in all weather conditions to over 200 ships worldwide. 


About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2009, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €4.8 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment and Airbus Defence and Space for the development and provision of secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, geo-information products and services, and navigation services.


AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, AIRBUS Group generated revenues of €42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119, 000.


Press contacts:

Daniel Mosely (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                      Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 8180

Matthieu Duvelleroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                              Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                                   Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                                                 Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41

Secure Satcom Systems