Viasat Joins DeSIRE II Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Project Consortium
GENEVA – (EBACE2015 – Booth #C035) – May 19, 2015 – Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) is part of the consortium awarded the DeSIRE II project, a program funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) program, the European Defence Agency (EDA) and industry to define regulations and civilian usage for satellite-controlled Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) also known as drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
As part of the consortium, Viasat is taking the lead in developing the communication, navigation and sensing (CNS) technologies for real-time RPAS command and control across Ka- and L-band satellites. Viasat will provide an advanced satellite communications (satcom) system that includes modems for both frequency bands and modems for system gateways to demonstrate how a satcom system can lead to the safe use of RPAS in "unsegregated" or civilian airspace.
Viasat will also help identify civilian service applications for RPAS usage such as environmental monitoring, maritime surveillance and emergency response. One application proposed by Viasat is the effectiveness of RPAS in early warning and response of a wildfire outbreak. Viasat in collaboration with CEREN, the French public organization that represents 14 fire brigades, will demonstrate how the DeSIRE II project can aid in data collection and transmission; identification of risk and alarm trigger; real-time video information of wildfire outbreaks; and night flights with infra-red capabilities.
"There is significant commercial market potential for drones in civilian service applications; however, growth is hampered by their inability to operate in unsegregated airspace," said Stefano Vaccaro, managing director, Viasat Antenna Systems, Switzerland. "Through the DeSIRE II project, the consortium will have an opportunity to work with aviation organizations such as the European-based EASA, EUROCONTROL, JARUS and the International Civil Aviation Organization RPAS panel to support the definition of regulations that contribute to a worldwide standard in RPAS operation influenced by Viasat's satcom technologies."
Other industry participants in the DeSIRE II project include Telespazio, one of the world's leading companies in integrated space applications and end-to-end satellite communications services, which is leading the consortium, as well as Ædel Aerospace GmbH, e-GEOS, Piaggio Aerospace, Selex ES and skyguide. By the end of 2016, the DeSIRE II project is expected to complete a series of flight tests with the Piaggio Aerospace P.1HH DEMO Hammerhead platform demonstrating the feasibility of RPAS sharing airspace and operating in compliance with civilian aviation regulations and procedures while providing real-time value-added services to several European agencies and institutions.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements include, among others, statements about satellite communications technologies and applications as it relates to RPAS/drone systems and the expected timing of flight tests. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include: the ability to successfully implement Viasat's satcom technology on the DeSIRE II project; the anticipated timeline or at all; risks associated with the DeSIRE II project, including the effect of any anomaly, operational failure or degradation in satellite performance or the performance of other partners in the Consortium; negative audits by the U.S. or European governments; continued turmoil in the global business environment and economic conditions; delays in approving European government budgets and cuts in government defense expenditures; changes in relationships with, or the financial condition of, key customers or suppliers to the DeSIRE II project; reliance on a limited number of third parties to manufacture and supply Viasat's products; increased competition and other factors affecting the communications, defense and civilian industries generally; the effect of adverse regulatory changes on Viasat's ability to sell products and services; Viasat's level of indebtedness and ability to comply with applicable debt covenants; Viasat's involvement in litigation, including intellectual property claims and litigation to protect proprietary technology; and Viasat's dependence on a limited number of key employees. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in Viasat's SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including Viasat's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. Viasat undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.
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