Long-range HF and sim expertise [CANSEC2016D1]

25 May 2016

Rockwell Collins is showcasing just a small cross-section of its diverse portfolio of avionics and electronics products at CANSEC, focusing on key areas such as communications, rapid networking and advanced training tools.

The company’s display reflects some of its capabilities in the defence and aviation arenas, including a fully integrated cockpit demonstrator for a rotary-wing platform, and a number of technologies that have been developed by Rockwell Collins Canada.

From the Canadian business comes an innovative HF communications system that is gathering considerable interest from military and commercial customers who are looking for a long-range communication system that could augment satellite-based solutions.

HF radios have traditionally offered the required range, but the data transfer rate has been very low. The new ‘made-in-Canada’ system offers data rates of between 60 and 240kbps, equivalent to a narrow-band satcoms system, and more than suficient to transfer images and video over long distances. The data throughput is between 10 and 20 times greater than that possible with traditional HF radios.

Rockwell Collins Canada is currently productionising the system. Prototype systems have already been supplied for evaluation by the navies of Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

The maritime domain is a natural application for the technology to provide an alternative and complementary means of long-range communication to satcoms, but can also be used in land-based applications. Rockwell Collins Canada is now developing an airborne version.

Another area of Rockwell Collins expertise is in training, particularly that associated with avionics. Being shown at CANSEC for the first time is a virtual reality (VR) distance training tool based on Oculus Rift goggles. The technology allows students to virtually train in many tasks, for instance avionics trouble-shooting and parts replacement.

The VR tool can be reconfigured at low cost to simulate a vast array of tasks, allowing them to be taught and practised without the need for costly hardware, as well as allowing common training to be undertaken at many locations.

The concept is being demonstrated to show how it can be adapted to enhance and augment existing training systems.

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