C4iSR: Air

Xtender puts satellite phone monitoring into UAVs

15 June 2017

UK-based Horizon Technologies is adapting its FlyingFish airborne satellite monitoring system for integration on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and light aircraft.

The new instantiation, known as Xtender, is intended to enable even small hand-launched UAVs to be used for signals intelligence (SIGINT) missions.

According to John Beckner, Horizon Technologies' director, the need for satellite phone monitoring reflects the increasing use of satellite phones by terrorist/insurgent groups for long-haul communications. "Satellite phones can operate where there is no GSM infrastructure," he said. "The other attraction for terrorists is that mobile satellite communication does not 'touch' any local GSM infrastructure … it is completely independent, and unless monitored, completely secure.

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