Airbus and VDL Group have signed a collaboration agreement for the development and manufacture of a laser communication terminal for the aeronautical industry that will enable the exchange of large amounts of data via a network of ground stations and satellites in geostationary orbit located 36,000 km above the earth.
The new product will be based on a mechatronic optical system with high stability and precision, which could reach several gigabits per second while keeping data secure against interference and with a very low probability of interception.
This new communication system called UltraAir will enable the connection of military aircraft and AUVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) within a multi-domain combat cloud thanks to laser-based satellite constellations such as Airbus’ SpaceDataHighway.
This patented optical technology from VDL, which Airbus plans to install on one of its aircraft on a trial basis, creates the foundation for the future of data transmission speeds and will be a key differentiator for multi-domain combat collaboration with government and defense customers.
Laser data communication aims to revolutionize the communications industry and is seen as a solution for data traffic in the quantum era as this communication path will be able to support 1,000 times more data than current networks with 10 times the speed.
Additionally, laser communication technologies will be more difficult to interfere with, can be lighter, and consume less energy so this project will surely become the first of many in the aeronautical sector promising an escalation in the issue of data transmission and security.