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Axnes Wireless tech featured on Cal Fire’s new Firehawk


September 29, 2021
By Naomi Szeben


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Image courtesy of Axnes

Axnes announced that California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) received an additional S-70i Firehawk helicopter recently featuring its PNG Wireless Intercommunication System (WICS) installed.

This makes seven Firehawk’s delivered to CAL FIRE thus far, out of an order of twelve total. Eventually, twelve CAL FIRE S-70i Firehawk aircraft will be equipped with the Axnes wireless intercom to improve crew safety, situational awareness, enhancing communications for mission efficiency.

The PNG WICS features NVG compatibility, push-to-talk (PTT) and voice activation (VOX) functions that allow easy integration of the MP50 handset transceiver into their mission set, along with multiple civil, para-public and military mission profiles.

The integration of the Axnes PNG WICS was performed by United Rotorcraft in Denver, where the S-70i airframes are equipped with mission equipment, including internal audio integration and two PNG MP50 handsets, to allow crews to operate inside and outside of the aircraft with full-duplex crew communication via wireless intercom.

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The MP50 handsets used by CAL FIRE is housed in a waterproof, rugged aluminium case and includes a two-to-three-mile range and secure AES 256-bit secure encryption. Battery life of the MP50 handsets include 30 hours of standby time and up to 12 hours of continuous operation.

The DO-160G (environmental-airborne) and DO-178C (software-airborne) qualified PNG WICS is integrated with the aircraft Becker Avionics DVC6100 digital intercom system, increasing mission capability and operational safety for the most challenging scenarios, particular during rescue hoist missions.

The PNG WICS system is designed for integration into any aircraft communications suite, or it can be deployed as a standalone portable system. PNG provides robust, reliable, clear, and secure, full-duplex communications to crew members who are either wired or wireless.