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Helikites Lift World’s First 4G Base Station for Emergency Relief
2nd October 2013 Ref: P1-2013


Allsopp Helikites Ltd is a partner in a new European research project to provide rapid, mobile, airborne, 4G communications over a wide area in the event of an emergency.

The project, called ‘Aerial Base Stations with Opportunistic Links for Unexpected and Temporary Events’ (‘ABSOLUTE’ for short), is funded by the European Commission and lead by Thales Communications and Security in France.

Helikites are a new type of all-weather, high-altitude, tethered aircraft. Helikites are unique because they are the only stable aerostats in the world that are pushed up by both helium and by the wind. This means that even very compact Helikites can lift useful payloads to great altitude, whilst being highly weather-survivable. Now, they will provide an inexpensive, all-weather and persistent platform for the 4G equipment being developed in the project. Helikite platforms can be deployed from a small vehicle or boat and sent to 1000ft altitude in less than one hour.

The high altitude provides excellent over-the-horizon line-of-sight, rapidly creating a vast area of 4G coverage – perfect for provision of emergency communications in the event of a disaster or temporary event. Such a 4G airborne base station will allow anyone with a suitable mobile phone to be connected to the network if required. Thousands of victims will be able to report their circumstances to the emergency services, with their smartphones automatically providing their exact position to first responders.

The different emergency services will be able to communicate co-operatively. For the first time, they will be able to exploit invaluable applications, to instantly distribute maps, facial images and even video reports, because 4G provides high bandwidth.


Presently, many different groups of first responders utilise different types of radios, which causes considerable communication difficulties when they need to work together. The ABSOLUTE system solves this because all groups will be able to use 4G devices, which then allows unrivalled inter-group communications.

With backhaul, ABSOLUTE will provide internet communications over huge areas of the land and sea without the need for expensive infrastructure. This greatly aids correct planning and deployment by governments, allows relatives to contact victims, enables doctors to report casualties, and NGOs to organise aid to the correct places.

Helikite 4G technology also makes the deployment of robotic ground vehicles, unmanned sea vehicles and environmental sensors over large areas possible. Unmanned vehicles are needed for dealing with radiation leaks, poison gas clouds, earthquakes, flooding, tsunamis, and volcanoes. As recent tragic events at Fukushima, Bhopal, Haiti, New Orleans, Montserrat, and Mount St Helens testify.

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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