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Cobham and Inmarsat launch SB-Helo X-Stream satcom
Cobham Aerospace Communications and Inmarsat have launched the SB-Helo X-Stream helicopter satcom solution. It will improve communications through rotor blades by reducing packet loss by up to 40 per cent.

Few solutions exist that transmit data such as video imagery to a satellite network in the same way as is possible from fixed wing aircraft. This is due to the interference caused by the rotors, which leads to intermittent, jittery data streams and distorted video at the receiving station. But after extensive testing, Cobham Aerospace Communications and Inmarsat have developed a protocol in network Quality of Service (QoS) selection as an enhancement of the Swiftbroadband X-Stream service, one of Inmarsat's streaming services offering guaranteed on-demand high-streaming data rates over its L-band network.

This development allows data from rotary wing aircraft to be transmitted to the Inmarsat satellite network via dedicated modulation schemes. The increased resilience of the data pipeline passing through the rotors means that there will be an improvement in throughput of around 37 per cent in the transmission of high intensity data such as video. The free-of-charge software update will allow a helicopter operating from a remote location to transmit a significantly improved video or data stream. This capability is crucial for organisations operating rotary wing aircraft in specialised roles such as search and rescue, medical evacuation and military forces.

Inmarsat president of global government Todd McDonell says: “We are very happy to announce the availability of the SB-Helo X-Stream, an enhancement of the Inmarsat X-Stream service that meets the needs of this growing sector of the government market in an efficient and cost-effective way. Having worked with Cobham in the development of this new protocol, we are very pleased with the results we have seen from the trials and foresee that this cost-effective solution will be greatly sought after in the growing government helo market.”

Cobham Aerospace Communications VP sales, marketing and support Willem Kasselman adds: “The launch of this new system represents a breakthrough for Cobham, solving a long-standing problem in helicopter satcom communications. The partnership between Cobham Aerospace Communications and Inmarsat is an important one for us, and we look forward to building on this announcement and expanding and improving other related services over the coming months.”

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