Northrop Grumman adapts space satellite communications for aircraft

13 December 2013

Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) said it has taken a satellite communications system normally used in space and transformed it into a high-functioning, low-cost communications system that can be used on aircraft.

The satellite communications (SATCOM) system was successfully demonstrated on board the company´s Firebird demonstrator aircraft. Until now, no small communications system has been able to send sensor data to a satellite and back to a ground station at such a high rate of transfer.

“It´s a game changer for those that need high-quality, real-time data, but don´t want to or can´t have a large, heavy communications system onboard,” said Brett Amidon, director of Technology Development at Northrop Grumman´s Aerospace Systems. “Our system provides beyond line of sight capabilities in a compact, lightweight, low-profile package.”

Northrop Grumman developed the SATCOM system using Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology, which first gained attention as the source of brightly coloured LED lights. GaN allows for high communications output while using very little physical space.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

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