uAvionix announced today that it is developing LTE support and a new airborne radio manager dubbed “muLTElink” for its SkyLine Command and Control (C2) Network. SkyLine’s ability to roam across multiple ground stations is now enhanced through the additional capability onboard the aircraft, which enables an aircraft to seamlessly transition in-flight between different onboard C2 radios such as ISM and C-Band, or leverage the integral diversity LTE radio without latency or risk of a lost link.
Avoiding a lost link scenario is critical to Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) aircraft operations. Every radio and frequency has advantages and disadvantages depending on the geographic location and altitude of the operation, and a LTE enabled link and added layer of redundancy (muLTElink) allows for seamless and lossless switching between different radio types. An example uAvionix provided is the typical example of LTE coverage which works well under 400’ in given locations, but as the aircraft transitions to higher altitudes or more rural locations, the need arises to switch to an alternate link such as C-Band to maintain control of the aircraft.
Why it’s important: A third layer of datalink for BVLOS operations will increase reliability of link integrity and allow for greater confidence in the remote operation of drones and sUAS systems in new areas. Further, increased reliability of LTE connectivity and 5G connectivity may ultimately allow for additional redundancy of communication channels to be phased out.