Advanced Television

Airbus, Salam to launch Zephyr HAPS

October 25, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Airbus and Salam, a Saudi Arabian telecoms company which is part of Abu Dhabi’s Mawarid Media & Communications, have signed a strategic partnership to provide the Airbus ‘Zephyr’ High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) to Saudi Arabia.

The Airbus Zephyr comprises an unmanned drone or aerial vehicle,which flies at 21,000m (70,000ft) and can stay aloft for “months at a time”. Initially developed by the UK’s defence contractor QinetiQ. Zephyr is – in essence – an airborne communications station.

The concept is to progress the development of private networks, IoT applications, disaster management solutions and other connectivity and high-altitude Earth observation services from the stratosphere to serve Saudi Arabia.

Ahmad Al-Anqari, Salam CEO, said: “We see in Airbus’s Zephyr platform a key asset to provide private network services, IoT solutions as well as civil, governmental and non-governmental applications. There are numerous use cases for the platform’s capabilities and we look forward to this partnership with Airbus to serve the Saudi market in support of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals.”

“In partnership with Salam, our Zephyr platform, with its demonstrated advanced capabilities, will be instrumental in serving several markets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” added Jeff Smith, Head of Connectivity of Airbus´ HAPS Connectivity Business.

Airbus will provide low-latency, direct-to-device 5G connectivity services, in addition to persistent high-resolution imaging and live-video, delivered from the stratosphere. The company´s solution will support in bridging the digital divide and will bring connectivity services to those who are currently unserved or underserved from a solar powered and carbon neutral platform.

During the day, Zephyr uses its solar cells spread across its wings to recharge high-power lithium-sulphur batteries and drive two propellers. At night, the energy stored in the batteries is sufficient to maintain Zephyr in the sky.

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