LightSquared is coming under pressure from several separate directions, as opponents to its plans provide more specific support to their positions on legal, financial and technical issues. And in the background, a telecom industry heavyweight with whom LightSquared hopes to form an alliance wants clarity by year-end.
Southwest Airlines says it will be the first major airline to widely use a wireless, ground-support communications system to improve safety and operational efficiency during pushback operations. The airline plans to deploy the Flightcom pushback system for commercial aviation at 425 gates at 73 airports in the U.S. by the first quarter of 2012.
Italian electronic defense company Elettronica and Abu Dhabi-based Baynunah Aviation Technology recently established the ELTBAT Electronic Systems Development joint venture to act as a center of excellence in the Gulf region in the electronic warfare field.
Raytheon and Emirates Advanced Instruments (EAI) have completed environmental and flight tests of the Talon laser-guided rocket, opening the way for production.
After LightSquared made statements that it has a “legal right” to build a network of terrestrial 4G broadband transmitters in the U.S., the Coalition to Save Our GPS last Thursday stepped up its attack of the company’s plans.
At Helitech 2011, Blue Sky Network (BSN) exhibited a renewed line of tracking devices that can help flight dispatchers to know, in real-time, where their fleet’s helicopters are. Through the SkyRouter web portal, they can receive regular updates on the aircraft’s altitude, heading and location, explained hardware engineer Steve Larson.
Clearly impatient with the way the company’s plan for its nationwide broadband Internet project is becoming further and further delayed by opposition from the GPS user community, several federal government departments, members of Congress and, reportedly, within the FCC bureaucracy itself, a LightSquared
L-3 Unmanned Systems of Dallas has completed a series of capability enhancements to its Viking 400 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) supplied to the U.S. Special Operations Command under a 2009 contract. Added under the Block 1A upgrade are a new electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret and digital datalink.
The Coalition to ‘Save Our GPS,’ through vice president and general counsel Jim Kirkland of founding member Trimble, has responded to claims by LightSquared, which is seeking approval for a terrestrial broadband communication service in a frequency spectrum very close to that of GPS.
Thrane & Thrane recently introduced its Aviator wireless handset, a device designed to work with the Danish satcom specialist’s Aviator SwiftBroadband system. The pairing allows users to receive in-flight calls, so pilots can contact the ground and passengers can make personal and business calls.