Mynaric and H3 HATS today announced the successful start of a joint demonstration campaign to showcase laser communication capabilities for high-altitude long endurance aircraft using industrialized optical communications terminals. Initial flights of the campaign demonstrated key performance criteria of Mynaric’s HAWK product currently in pre-series production onboard one of H3 HATS’ aircraft. Where previous tests of this nature have used one-off prototypes or technology demonstrators, today’s announcement marks the world’s first demonstration of an industrialized optical communications terminal for airborne applications.
Initial flights of the campaign used a setup of two of Mynaric’s manufactured HAWK products for airborne laser communication on the ground and mounted in the fuselage payload bay of a G520NG aircraft, respectively, to demonstrate air-to-ground links. The setup was recently cleared for flight by all relevant regulatory aviation authorities. The first flights of the campaign demonstrated stable bidirectional laser links with 10 Gbps speed between the aircraft and the terminal on the ground during various flight patterns.
“Closing laser communication links in the air is in many dimensions a lot harder than in space given the aircrafts’ movements and atmospheric conditions,” said Bulent Altan, CEO of Mynaric. ”Having overcome these challenges HAWK offers connectivity with unprecedented security and bandwidth to airborne platforms. As the world’s first industrialized optical communications terminal for airborne applications, it enables aeronautical communication capabilities previously unimaginable. We are proud to have yet again advanced the industrial frontier of laser communications and look forward to expanding HAWK’s mission envelope further as the flight campaign with H3 HATS progresses.“
“Our customers today are stuck with sub-par data rates in the low Mbps for air-to-ground use cases and are limited to no real available solutions for air-to-air connectivity,” said Tina Ghataore, CCO of Mynaric. Our HAWK product line hits the perfect sweet spot to transfer large quantities of data with Gbps quickly and securely. From Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, to Transport and Commercial Aircraft, we see our products becoming integral to future airborne and mobility networks.”
The flight campaign uses a G520NG aircraft suited for manned or unmanned missions at high altitudes of up to 50,000 ft and for long endurances. The addition of the HAWK optical communications terminal to the aircraft extends its capabilities with secure and undetectable high-speed communication particularly relevant for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), broadband provisioning and other missions from high altitudes. HAWK has been designed for secure real-time broadband communication within a wide array of airborne applications and small size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements. The product is currently in pre-series production at Mynaric’s production facility that was inaugurated in June 2021.
“Congratulations, to the demonstration of this high-speed laser communication which we see as an important step for our high-altitude platforms.” said Robert Schmoldt, COO of H3 HATS. “The used aircraft G520NG was fully operated from the ground station and showed the UAV capability which is required for our flying telecommunication tower concept.”
The HAWK optical communications terminal for airborne laser communication is currently included in flight campaigns with customers and partners in Europe and the United States.