French DGA Tests Thales Satcom Antenna Prototype

By Nick Zazulia | December 20, 2018
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Thales' low-profile Antares-LP satcom antenna array. (Thales)

The French defense procurement agency (DGA) has flight tested Thales' new low profile Antares active array satcom antenna prototype and placed an order for the system, Thales said Monday.

The Antares-LP is an ARINC 791-compatible Ka-band satcom antenna targeted to large mission aircraft. It combines mechanical and beam steering and is capable of up to 20 Mbps, according to Thales' specs. Thales also offers a less-robust Antares multi-platform aimed at UAS and helicopters.

The DGA conducted real-world-condition trials in Cazaux in southwest France with the first Antares-LP prototype installed on a testbed aircraft. The antenna array features global satcom coverage —Thales said the Antares-LP uses beamforming to enhance the signal in remote theatres — connecting to both commercial satellites and sovereign satellites, such as France's Syracuse IV network. Aircraft equipped with the Antares-LP will be able to send data in real time and act as a communication node for nearby aircraft, according to a Thales representative.

Thales and the DGA have not yet released the terms of the order placed or a concrete delivery timeline for the Antares-LP, but it should be ready for further testing soon.

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