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SKYTRAC Iridium Certus technology selected for French H160M program

July 14, 2022  By Helicopters Staff

Airbus will deliver a total of 169 H160M, which will be factory-equipped with SKYTRAC’s SDL-700, to the French Armed Forces in batches starting in 2027. (Photo: Airbus, SKYTRAC)

Airbus Helicopters has selected SKYTRAC’s SDL-700 Satcom system to provide mission-critical capabilities for the Joint Light Helicopter (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger – HIL) French Armed Forces Programme.

The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) launched the development of the H160M in December 2021. This new generation military helicopter is capable of missions ranging from commando infiltration to air intercept, fire support, and anti-ship warfare supporting the requirements of all three branches of the French Armed Forces.

To support the HIL program’s objective to replace five types of helicopters serving in the French Army, Navy, and Air Force, Airbus Helicopters will be providing a total of 169 H160M in batches starting in 2027. These aircraft will be factory-equipped with SKYTRAC’s SDL-700 to enable broadband Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite connectivity to support high value mission-critical capabilities.

The SDL-700 is the latest iteration of SKYTRAC’s flagship broadband Satcom terminal. A multifunctional system, the SDL-700 is a satellite communication terminal, data acquisition, and onboard server system that utilizes the Iridium Certus broadband connectivity service to provide up to 704 Kbps of bandwidth to enable mission-critical capabilities onboard the H160M.


“We are excited to equip the H160M, a leading modern platform, with equally leading-edge capabilities such as live video streaming, image and large file transfer, satellite voice, text, and Push-to-Talk (PTT), and Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) automation,” said Jan van der Heul, Vice President of Sales at SKYTRAC. “LEO satellite communications are revolutionizing operations, and we are excited to spearhead that progress.”

SKYTRAC’s complete solution will include the SDL-700 Satcom system, a High Gain Antenna (HGA) capable of 704 Kbps of bandwidth, and a Dual Element GPS Antenna that will be integrated into the H160M aircraft.

“With 99.9 per cent uptime reliability using the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, SKYTRAC’s solution will provide the French Armed Forces with the reliable connectivity and mission-critical capabilities required for successful, safe, and efficient operations,” said van der Heul.


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