ViaSat Joins DeSIRE II RPA Systems Project Consortium

ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), an innovator in broadband and communication technologies and services, today announced it is part of the consortium awarded the DeSIRE II project, a program funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) program, the European Defence Agency (EDA) and industry to define regulations and civilian usage for satellite-controlled Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) also known as drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

As part of the consortium, ViaSat is taking the lead in developing the communication, navigation and sensing (CNS) technologies for real-time RPAS command and control across Ka- and L-band satellites. ViaSat will provide an advanced satellite communications (satcom) system that includes modems for both frequency bands and modems for system gateways to demonstrate how a satcom system can lead to the safe use of RPAS in "unsegregated" or civilian airspace.

ViaSat will also help identify civilian service applications for RPAS usage such as environmental monitoring, maritime surveillance and emergency response. One application proposed by ViaSat is the effectiveness of RPAS in early warning and response of a wildfire outbreak. ViaSat in collaboration with CEREN, the French public organization that represents 14 fire brigades, will demonstrate how the DeSIRE II project can aid in data collection and transmission; identification of risk and alarm trigger; real-time video information of wildfire outbreaks; and night flights with infra-red capabilities.

"There is significant commercial market potential for drones in civilian service applications; however, growth is hampered by their inability to operate in unsegregated airspace," said Stefano Vaccaro, managing director, ViaSat Antenna Systems Division, Switzerland. "Through the DeSIRE II project, the consortium will have an opportunity to work with aviation organizations such as the European-based EASA, EUROCONTROL, JARUS and the International Civil Aviation Organization RPAS panel to support the definition of regulations that contribute to a worldwide standard in RPAS operation influenced by ViaSat's satcom technologies."

Other industry participants in the DeSIRE II project include Telespazio, one of the world's leading companies in integrated space applications and end-to-end satellite communications services, which is leading the consortium, as well as Ædel Aerospace GmbH, e-GEOS, Piaggio Aerospace, Selex ES and skyguide. By the end of 2016, the DeSIRE II project is expected to complete a series of flight tests with the Piaggio Aerospace P.1HH DEMO Hammerhead platform demonstrating the feasibility of RPAS sharing airspace and operating in compliance with civilian aviation regulations and procedures while providing real-time value-added services to several European agencies and institutions.

Source: ViaSat, Inc.
Date: May 19, 2015