Inmarsat and Heron Collaborate to Facilitate Unmanned Aircraft Operations in Singapore’s Airspace

Inmarsat, a global leader in satellite communications, has announced a strategic partnership with Singapore-based Heron AirBridge, an Uncrewed Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) specialist in the Asia Pacific region. The collaboration follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at the Drones Asia event.

Together, Inmarsat and Heron AirBridge aim to safely integrate uncrewed aircraft into Singapore’s commercial airspace. This will be achieved by combining Inmarsat’s Velaris, a reliable command and control (C2) datalink designed specifically for UAVs, with Heron’s AirBridge, a comprehensive and adaptable UTM system.

As part of the partnership, Inmarsat will provide Heron with low size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) Velaris satellite terminals for UAVs. These terminals will deliver a secure datalink required for Beyond Visible Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. This collaboration will mark the first deployment of Velaris technology in the Asia Pacific region, with trials set to begin later this year.

Inmarsat and Heron will also leverage the Velaris Partner Network, collaborating with stakeholders across the aviation community to develop regulatory frameworks and technologies. These efforts will help increase the number of Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) operating in Singapore’s airspace and offer a model for successful integration that can be implemented globally.

Joel Klooster, Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations & Safety at Inmarsat Aviation, emphasized the potential for growth in uncrewed aviation. He explained that advances in air vehicles and communications technology are ready, but the key to unlocking their full potential lies in consistent, global regulatory progress.

In partnership with Heron, Inmarsat aims to create a blueprint for the integrated airspace of the future. By combining Inmarsat’s Velaris technology with Heron’s regional domain expertise, both companies will equip airspace and UAV operators with the necessary tools to drive regulatory acceptance in the region and beyond.

Ryan Lee, CEO and Co-Founder of Heron AirBridge, highlighted that their collaboration with Inmarsat is a significant step towards increasing UAV integration in Singapore’s crowded airspace and updating regulation for worldwide replication. Together, they aim to establish Singapore as a global leader in the rapidly growing uncrewed aviation sector, promoting the utilization of low-level airspace globally. Inmarsat’s Velaris technology will provide the core network and datalink capabilities needed to drive UAV integration.

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Inmarsat delivers world leading, innovative, advanced and exceptionally reliable global, mobile communications across the world – in the air, at sea and on land – that are enabling a new generation of commercial, government and mission-critical services. Inmarsat is powering the digitalisation of the maritime industry, making operations more efficient and safer than ever before. It is driving a new era of inflight passenger services for aviation, while ensuring that aircraft can fly with maximum efficiency and safety. Furthermore, Inmarsat is enabling the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and enabling the next wave of world-changing technologies that will underpin the connected society and help build a sustainable future. And now Inmarsat is developing the first-of-its-kind, multi-dimensional communications network of the future, ORCHESTRA.

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