Pipistrel to Use Honeywell Satellite Communications Tech in New Drones

Honeywell says its SATCOM system is the world's smallest but has the power of jetliner technology.


The Nuuva V300 delivery drone uses Honeywell satellite communications technology.
Honeywell Aerospace said its satellite communications system for small unmanned aerial vehicles will enable Pipistrel's Nuuva and Surveyor drones to provide data for fleet management.

Honeywell International Inc. today announced that Pipistrel Aircraft's Surveyor and Nuuva unmanned aerial vehicles will use its compact satellite communications technology. The company claimed that its Small UAV SATCOM system “will bring the safety, connectivity, and efficiency trusted for decades by airplane manufacturers and airlines to three of Pipistrel's exciting new aircraft.”

“We are excited to offer our customers a global communication solution, which is location-independent and cost-effective,” stated Ivo Boscarol, CEO of Pipistrel. “The addition of Honeywell’s Small UAV SATCOM to our unmanned aircraft platforms unlocks global beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) connectivity for command-control, as well as mission-specific data relay. Our customers will enjoy the ability to connect to their assets anytime, anywhere, without the need to set up elaborate ground-based BVLOS infrastructure.”

Pipistrel designs and manufactures small aircraft. With more than 30 years of experience, the Slovenia-based company has produced more than 2,200 aircraft to date. It has also developed propulsion systems, including batteries, power controllers, and electric motors, for small and general aviation class of aircraft for NASA and Siemens, among others.

The company said it was the first to fly an electric two-seater in 2007, and it has designed nine experimental and serially produced electric aircraft. Pipistrel won the NASA Green Flight Challenge in 2011 with a four-seat electric airplane. It participates in standards committees for hybrid-electric aviation. Research and development division Pipistrel Vertical Solutions is developing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi, as well as a hydrogen fuel cell-powered 19-seat miniliner/microfeeder.

Honeywell brings SATCOM to smaller UAVs

Satellite communications, or SATCOM, refers to technologies that connect aircraft to one another and to operators or air traffic control on the ground via satellites. Traditionally, satellite communications terminals have been available only to larger business and commercial transport aircraft due to their large size, weight, and the power required.

However, Honeywell said its Small UAV SATCOM system is 30% lighter than competing options, customizable, and can be installed in different locations on an aircraft to accommodate a wide range of platforms.

Weighing in at only 1 kg (2.2 lb.), the Small UAV SATCOM system is 90% lighter than Honeywell’s next smallest connectivity system. It can provide unmanned aerial vehicles with global coverage and real-time video streaming to the ground, said the company.

The system also enables BVLOS capabilities, according to Honeywell. It can be used for a variety of applications, including drone delivery services. In addition, the Small UAV SATCOM can keep vehicles connected even in remote areas or over water where other ground-based communications systems, such as 4G, are not available, said Honeywell.

Honeywell Aerospace said its products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense, and space aircraft. The Honeywell business unit builds aircraft engines, cockpit and cabin electronics, wireless connectivity systems, mechanical components, and more. Honeywell Aerospace said its hardware and software can create more fuel-efficient aircraft, more direct and on-time flights, and safer skies and airports.

Honeywell offers avionics, flight control, navigation, radar, communications, actuation, cooling, motors, and turbo-electric propulsion systems for the emerging urban air mobility (UAM) segment. The systems are all tailored for piloted VTOL, UAM, and unmanned cargo vehicles, it said. Honeywell also offers aerospace integration and certification expertise for enabling the commercialization of these vehicles.

Pipistrel provides UAV capabilities for multiple applications

Pipistrel’s Nuuva V300 is a long-range, large-capacity, autonomous UAV. It will take off and land vertically with battery power, so it will not require a runway. The drone has significantly lower operating costs than helicopters, said the company.

The Nuuva V300 can carry loads up to 460 kg (about 1,010 lb.) for more than 300 km (about 186 mi.), making it an ideal solution for deliveries to areas traditionally accessible only by helicopter.

The Nuuva V20, shares the same architecture and advantages of the larger V300, but it is designed to serve as a lighter cargo transport vehicle carrying loads of up to 20 kg (44 lb.).

The Surveyor aircraft uses a fixed-wing design that is designed to be customized with various sensors and cameras for use in applications like wildlife management, coastal patrol, traffic observation, or search and rescue efforts.

The Small UAV SATCOM system will provide the same capabilities used by larger aircraft to Pipistrel's UAVs, said Honeywell. It added that its offering, which targets a rapidly growing market segment, will for the first time be implemented specifically on an unmanned cargo or optionally manned aerial vehicle.

“Honeywell’s Small UAV SATCOM system is a game-changer for small or medium-sized unmanned aircraft, such as the Nuuva cargo or Surveyor aircraft, that previously couldn’t be equipped with satellite communications,” said Stéphane Fymat, vice president and general manager of unmanned aerial systems and urban air mobility at Honeywell Aerospace. “Now, they have access to everything we’ve come to expect from the large-aircraft experience, like global connectivity or fleet monitoring — but it’s been packaged in a size that is conducive to a much smaller aerial vehicle.”

The Nuuva V300 is a long-range, large-capacity heavy-weight autonomous eVTOL UAV for logistics and aerial cargo delivery.

Email Sign Up

Get news, papers, media and research delivered
Stay up-to-date with news and resources you need to do your job. Research industry trends, compare companies and get market intelligence every week with Robotics 24/7. Subscribe to our robotics user email newsletter and we'll keep you informed and up-to-date.


The Nuuva V300 delivery drone uses Honeywell satellite communications technology.

Robot Technologies