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Long Range Comms for Australians Troops
8th February 2015 Ref: P9-2015

Australian Special Forces Aquire Helikite Long-Range Communications Capability

The Australian Defence Force and Australian Special Forces have acquired a new Helikite aerostat, over-the-horizon communications system.

The unique Helikite aerostat, made by Allsopp Helikites Ltd in England, is a new type of high-altitude platform that has been highly acclaimed by the ADF trials team during the recent Talisman/Sabre radio trials. It proved brilliant by reliably providing previously impossible over-the-horizon comms. In fact, the performance of this compact, rapidly deployed aerostat system proved to be so good, that the actual trials
Helikites were rapidly acquired by the SAS for their immediate use.

Digital radios can provide excellent high-data-rate communications, which give the Australian troops numerous advantages such as streaming video, mapping applications, messaging, voice, and GPS independent positioning. Their fault is that they are strictly line-of-sight only. This normally renders them short range tools, and greatly restricts their potential in a rapidly moving battlefield. Flying these radios high into the sky allows their full potential to be realised.


After trying out all other competing airborne platform systems, the miniature, all-weather, Helikite aerostats proved themselves to be the only practical way of lifting these radios hundreds of feet into the sky.

The Helikite’s unique abilities are extremely useful to all forces needing wide area, high data-rate comms. However, they are especially useful to the Special Forces operating behind enemy lines. Helikites flown safely in friendly territory proved to be able to consistently project forward broadband radio comms up to 42 miles behind enemy lines. This allows the Special Forces to have secure, high-data-rate comms in a way that was never before possible. This explains their enthusiasm for the Helikite systems.

Deployment of the Helikite aerostat is easy. Four Pelicases contain everything required, including the Helikite, helium cylinders, electric winch, launch pad and radio payload. It takes under 30 minutes to deploy, inflate, and fly to 1,000ft in all weathers. Once there, the Helikite can stay airborne for many days or weeks.

When software-enabled, digital radios are flown on Helikites, the number of radios required to provide comms links between troops is dramatically reduced. This is because a single Helikite radio has a massive range and can cover an area of thousands of square miles. Over one hundred expensive, complicated, masts + radio systems may be required to provide the same area of communications of each, small, inexpensive Helikite. Helikites hugely reduce the need for expensive radios. As each radio costs tens of thousands of dollars, this is a massive cost saving.

As can be imagined, there is also an immense saving in manpower when using Helikites, as only two operators are needed to launch one. After launch, it flies automatically, completely unattended. Helikites are tremendous force multipliers, whereas deploying numerous masts will inevitably require hundreds of troops to be taken from the frontline to protect and operate them.

About Allsopp Helikites Limited

Allsopp Helikites Ltd is a designer and manufacturer of advanced lighter-than-air, miniature, all-weather aerostat systems. The company delivers a full range of products including Helikite aerostats, Helibases, Helikite winches, flying line, video surveillance cameras, aerial photographic equipment, radio-relay systems, Jungle Marker Helikites, balloon cut-down devices, helium, and aerostat trailers. Allsopp Helikites Ltd is a privately owned SME operating from its aerostat test flying base in Dorset, England.

For further information or photographic images please contact:

Sandy Allsopp, Allsopp Helikites Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)01425 654 967


Issued by:

Allsopp Helikites Ltd, Unit 1&2 Fordingbridge Business Park, Ashford Rd, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, SP6  1BD, England.
Tel: +44 (0)01425 654 967 E-mail:

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