Northrop Grumman Completes Satcom Demonstration for Aircraft

satcom GaN equipment

Northrop Grumman’s Firebird Aircraft, used to test the company’s satcom system. Photo: Northrop Grumman

[Via Satellite 12-12-13] Northrop Grumman, using its Firebird aircraft, successfully demonstrated its satellite communications (satcom) system, which is capable of sending sensor data to a satellite and back to a ground station at a high rate of transfer.

During the demonstration, the Satcom system rapidly provided full-motion video to the ground. For demo purposes, the system and associated test equipment were housed within a pylon-mounted structure attached to the top of the Firebird fuselage. The system’s small size saves space, allowing more sensor payloads and equipment to be carried by the aircraft.

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

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