Ground Control Station (GCS)
A Ground Control System controls and monitors the Airboxer. It provides the pilots with all vital information about the flight progress and the status of the UAV. The pilot can use an external carrier to expand control during close-range operations. All antenna systems, payload stations and other additional ground equipment are connected to the GCS, which acts as the main hub.
The brain for all ground equipment is the GCS, which is provided in a rugged and sealed case. It includes two large screens to control the flight progress, create flight plans and monitor sensory information from the UAV. A range of switches and buttons, circuit breakers and joysticks allow the pilot to interface with the complete UAV system without delay. The GCS can be operated in harsh environments and without external power for extended periods. The design facilitates permanent integrations into ships or other vehicles.
The pilot uses the portable carrier during take-off and landing to support the automatic flight modes of the Airboxer. The design specifically mimics the cockpit layout of a manned helicopter. It integrates cyclic and collective levers, ‘the basic-6’ and indicates all other vital flight information to the pilot. Its lightweight design provides no restriction to the mobility of the pilot, allowing him to operate the UAV in smaller, less-dedicated areas. The carrier can be mounted to a harness, lifevest or tactical vest through a common interface.
The GCS and the carrier run the same software platform, which is the main interface for the Airboxer. Next to providing a visual interface for the flight progress, it is also a tool for flight planning purposes. Pilots can create and amend flight plans at any stage before or during a flight. They can dedicate specific tasks to waypoints in a flight plan, like an overhead stop or stabilized turn. The software also allows the creation of arrival routes, which the Airboxer will automatically follow during an automatic approach and landing.
One of the most vital parts of a UAV system, is its capability to transmit telemetry and payload data to and from the UAV in a solid and robust way. The Airboxer’s ground equipment consists of a combination of short-range and long-range antenna systems to provide low-latency communications with high data rates.
The Airboxer’s communication system uses a MIMO based radio system, providing self-healing MESH and multi-pathing capabilities. A variety of frequency bands and industry standard encryption grades are available. High Eye can add additional radios to the system to receive data at different locations during flight, or to provide redundancy.
When operating the Airboxer within a 15 km radius, the SRA will suffice for most operations. It provides operators with industry-leading capabilities in an affordable manner, with a minimal logistical footprint. The SRA is a compact, self-aligning, dual-polarity, all-weather, low-gain tracking antenna system. One can mount it permanently to vehicles, masts or ships and can expand it with an auto-alignment capability.
The Airboxer’s full potential is unlocked when you use it in combination with the LRA. When operating at its maximum capability, it provides high throughputs up to 50 km from the antenna. It is a self-aligning, dual-polarity, all-weather, high-gain tracking antenna system. The LRA design facilitates permanent integrations on ships, buildings or other tactical locations. Easily collapse and store it in its dedicated container within a matter of minutes for field operations. For operations on moving vessels, the LRA uses an internal IMU to stabilize the antenna against the ships movement. In the proximity of an obstruction, there is a possibility to use two LRA’s simultaneously at different locations to create unrestricted omnidirectional coverage.