ACROSS-AIR Advanced Broadband Satcom Solutions for Rotary Wing Aircraft

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The objectives can be summarized as follows:

  • Identify satcom needs of rotary wing aircraft markets and compare the needs against emerging capabilities from advanced novel technologies;

  • Explore technical challenges in the application of satellite connectivity at this type of aircrafts;

  • Define high-level requirements to accomplish efficient satellite connectivity, in particular examining a set of representative scenarios and use-cases;

  • Perform a system level modelling, simulation and analysis to examine potential E2E architectures; and,

  • Assess the outcomes of the previous analysis in order to identify the current technical and non-technical gaps and propose a related roadmap for the future.


This type of satcom systems face several challenges like:

  • Low altitude of operation;

  • Operation in narrow areas such valleys or cities;

  • Rotation of blades and relatively strong vibrations;

  • Physical characteristics of terminals (current market products too bulky, heavy or non-conformal to be installed on smaller air frames);

  • Current status of the orbital segment not clear on how to optimally exploited by such systems;

  • Mainly military products available, for large helicopters.





System Architecture

The architectures are related to the exact use cases examined. They cover E2E the whole system, in particular the terminal system on the rotary wing aircraft (depending on the exact aircraft type and scenario), the approach needed from the aircraft manufacturers, to the space segment, the number of satellites needed, their altitude, specific requirements on their payloads, etc.


The project plan consists of the following parts:

  • Technology and Market Assessment, consisting of the Technical and the Market Surveys (completed).

  • The results of the Assessment, gives the necessary insights for the Scenario Development, Trade Off and Selection (ongoing).

  • Both previous parts guide the Consortium to the detailed System Requirements and Trade-Off Analysis. An SSR with ESA gives the opportunity to review all these items.

  • Following that, the System Definition, Modelling and Simulation takes place.

  • The results of the previous part, drives the study to the Gap Analysis and Roadmap development, and the finalisation of the project.

Current status

Activities started on 01/09/2023. Progress Meeting 1 was successfully held on 29/11/2023, signifying the conclusion of WP1000, which focused on Technology and Market Assessment. 
Activities of WP2000, regarding the Scenario Development, Trade Off and Selection, are in progress and are expected to be finalised by the end of January 2024.

Prime Contractor