New Technology Transforms US Military Helicopters Into Cellphone Towers


You must have heard that cellphone coverage on the battlefield is not reliable, right? However, that is quite clearly a bit of an understatement. But what would happen if the military was able to bring a cell tower to the battlefield? That is where Hughes Network Systems comes in with its latest product.

The Hughes Network Systems recently announced a new product that enables it to transform a helicopter into a mobile and airborne cell tower. This amazing feat has been achieved by carrying out integration of LTE technology created by Virtual Network Communications with the Hughes HeloSat Solution. Hughes HeloSat Solution is the name of a system that can provide Beyond Line of Sight communications on rotary-wing aircraft.

Hughes Network Systems claims that it is capable of transforming a helicopter into a temporary, mobile cell tower using the new product. The technology can be incorporated in a helicopter or even a drone for that matter. It will transform them into an airborne cell tower that will be able to extend the coverage for tens of kilometers. As per Hughes Network Systems, the network is capable of supporting more than 100 users at a time.

Wayne Marhefka, who is a senior director of business development for Hughes Defense Division, said, ‘Together with VNC, Hughes can extend connectivity to soldiers and first response teams who need wireless communications to carry out their missions, especially in remote and disconnected environments. These new cellular capabilities will help the DoD build layered and unified communications network architecture for faster and more informed decision-making.’

A spokesperson for Hughes has told that the company doesn’t have any contracts for the cellular capability as of yet; however, it does enjoy contracts for the initial Beyond Line of Site high-throughput satellite technology. The spokesperson, however, refused to discuss any details of these contracts.