Aoptix Completes US AFRL’s Laser Communications System Flight Test

16 December 2009 (Last Updated December 16th, 2009 18:30)

AOptix has completed a two-phase flight test programme for the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) laser communications system, under Air Force Office of Scientific Research funding. The flight test, which is part of the firm's enhanced air-to-ground Lasercom system (EAGLS) programm

AOptix has completed a two-phase flight test programme for the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) laser communications system, under Air Force Office of Scientific Research funding.

The flight test, which is part of the firm's enhanced air-to-ground Lasercom system (EAGLS) programme, demonstrated AOptix's unique capabilities in pointing, acquisition and tracking (PAT).

A wireless bidirectional optical terminal, the Aoptix, uses a unique patented, single-aperture, adaptive optics method of beam control to compensate for real-time atmospheric turbulence while maintaining lock between two terminals.

During the flight test, the AOptix also demonstrated ultra-high bandwidth real-time communications between the aircraft-mounted R3.1 Lasercom terminal and LCT-5 fixed-ground Lasercom terminal.

The technology successfully demonstrated a low-power, eye-safe, ultra-high bandwidth air-to-ground free space optical (FSO) link, while flying at an altitude of 12,000ft above ground level, and with a slant distance of more than 100km.

During the test, the single bidirectional 2.5Gbps multichannel datalink transmitted live simultaneous uncompressed high-definition (HD) video, covering a ground area of more than 31,000km², from two different airplane cameras and gigabit Ethernet.

Forward error correction techniques developed specifically for an ultra-high-bandwidth FSO link and advanced error correction capabilities in automatic clock recovery were also demonstrated by the Aoptix technology during the test.

AOptix Technologies president and CEO Dean Senner said their defence Lasercom products deliver critically needed optical bandwidth for warfighters.

"In-theatre operations requiring real-time dissemination of persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information are no longer limited by the data rate constraints of today's radio frequency networks," he said.