What’s the Story Behind Airborne Technologies?

Learn more about the background of Aviation Technologies, including its founding principals, some of the cutting edge projects it's delivered on, and the high objective that drives the company forward...

AvBuyer  |  16th April 2020
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Multi-Mission Equipped Vulcanair P68 twin piston airplane

Airborne Technologies (ABT) was founded with a revolutionary spirit and a high objective: To convert conventional aircraft into high-tech platforms for special missions at an affordable cost, while maintaining an eye on precision.

Every idea starts with a problem. Airborne Technologies’ (ABT’s) was simple: With a growing demand for specialized aircraft across the commercial, public safety and defence sectors and a limited number of firms able to synchronize multiple manufactures and their systems into a final solution, ABT established a team of expert avionics specialist, system engineers and technicians to integrate leading-edge specialized mission systems into general aviation and military-grade aircraft.

Don't miss AvBuyer's Multi Mission Aviation Hub

From the Beginning Airborne Technologies set out to fill the void by specializing in modifying and integrating multi-mission aircraft with the best systems and equipment industry can provide.

Wolfgang Grumeth (CEO), Kristof Nagl (CFO), and Marcus Gurtner (CSO) founded ABT in 2008, with a specific eye on precision and customer service. In a short period of time, ABT became a leader among airborne Multi-Mission service providers by combining aviation engineering, IT, software engineering, flight operations and data processing into a final “Turn-Key” solution for their customers.

Fabrication shop at ABT facility

ABT grew from a staff of seven to over 50 highly skilled designers, engineers, project managers and technicians. They originally started their business in humble spaces but now operate in two state-of-the-art hangars with fabrication shops and a design and engineering facility located on one of Austria’s leading aerospace technical centers, Weiner Neustadt East Airport.

With an eye on special missions, ABT has provided aerial surveying and mapping services, flight testing, operated a fleet of OEM demonstrator aircraft, and conducted many special mission projects around the globe. It goes without saying, ABT’s history is embedded in multi-mission aviation.

Early Success

Ever since ABT was founded, their past performance in meeting every expectation and need of their customers is well noted. The company completed projects from marine conservation surveys in the Black Sea to developing an unmanned Optional Piloted Vehicle (OPV).

The Vulcanair P68 Observer flown by the German Police (Hessen)

ABT can point-to many successful projects to include:

  • UK National Police Air Service (NPAS): Delivered four turnkey Vulcanair P68R equipped with leading-edge surveillance systems and certified for operations in known icing conditions (FIKI), the final delivery consisted of Wescam MX10 with the Churchill Navigation System, and an Airborne Technologies LINX system;
  • German Police – Hessen: Delivered a Vulcanair P68 with ABT’s LINX system and ergonomic workstation. Additionally, the aircraft was upgraded with the latest radio equipment and mission management systems;
  • German Police – Brandenburg & Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Integrated 2 EC135 completely new surveillance equipment containing highest standard L3 Wescam MX15HDi, CHURCHILL Augmented Reality Navigation System ARS-500, together with existing downlink and tactical radio equipment all arranged in an ergonomic work environment;
  • Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia: Customized one EC-135 with a removable tactical workstation (made out of carbon fiber) with a leading Airborne LINX package. It also boasts the new enhanced Mission Management Unit – a simple-to-use control device for all sensors on board. Furthermore, the helicopter was upgraded with a new Churchill ATOM Mission Computer, a Wescam MX15Hdi, and a Trakka Beam A800 Searchlight;
  • Swiss Air Rescue Service (REGA): Equipped two AW109 SP, with the necessary mounts to assemble a WESCAM camera system on a moveable lifting device outside the helicopter, as well as the advanced operator workstation inside the cabin; and
  • Bulgarian Border Guard: Outfitted one AW109 helicopter with the Airborne LINX system, FLIR Star Safire 380 HD, an ECS Line of Sight Downlink, and a payload friendly carbon fiber tactical workstation.

Bulgarian Border Guard Tactical Workstation installed in a Leonardo AW109

The Precision Continues Today

ABT continues to expand its services and operations to support its customer's critical needs. To meet this demand, they’ve increased their capabilities and capacity to include EASA Certification In December 2017. ABT was certified as a Design Organisation (EASA Part 21 J and Part 21 G Production Organization).

Not only are the manufacturers allowed to make radical changes to an aircraft, but ABT is also now certified to modify an airframe from nose-to-tail without extensive coordination and approvals with OEMs and civil aviation authorities. The benefits to the customer are immense when it comes to meeting budgets and schedules.

Airborne LINX

The "Airborne LINX" mission system, combines equipment with aircraft or helicopters to create an easy-to-use workstation in the sky. The innovative concept provides a stable, intuitive work environment that makes it easy to use for any operator to understand and operate.

Viking Twin Otter Guardian 'missionized' with Airborne LINX

The core element of the Airborne LINX system is the Mission Management Unit (MMU), which was developed inhouse and enables the operation of cameras, sensors, and screens via an easy-to-use touchscreen. S.C.A.R.-Pod The S.C.A.R. (Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance) - Pod is made of composite materials and houses a complete sensor suite. It can be mounted on any aircraft with hardpoints.

The SCAR Pod provides options for EO/IR Surveillance Camera’s between 10“ to 20“ and a data link connection for both upload and download capability from pod to operator station. Plus, it has the use of an internal - easy changeable - battery pack which grants power supply for up to 10 hours as another option if not using aircraft power.

SCAR Pod on Viking Twin Otter with Hensoldt Argos II

Retractable Sensor Lifts 

ABT offers various lifting devices for various sensors and cameras. These lifts provide an electromechanical retraction system housed in a self-supporting composite structure (CFRP) for maximum strength. It allows the installation of an EO/IR camera system and provides advantages during take-off and landing because the camera is protected even on unpaved runways.

Viking Guardian 400 In partnership with Viking Air Ltd and leading special mission systems providers, ABT designed a state-of-the-art surveillance platform that provides a cost-efficient solution for special missions. Specifically, it offers a specialized solution for C4ISR, search and rescue, critical infrastructure support, and a range of other Special Missions applications.

Depending on requirements, the aircraft can be configured with the following systems:

  • Design System Architecture: Airborne Technologies (Airborne Linx)
  • EO/IR Turret: Hensoldt (Argos II HD)
  • Radar: Leonardo (Osprey 30)
  • Camera Vision: Sentient (ViDAR)
  • Moving Target Indication: Kestrel (MTI)
  • S.C.A.R. Pods: Airborne Technologies
  • Pylons: Alkan
  • Tactical Workstation: Airborne Technologies
  • Mission Computer: Galleon
  • Augmented Reality System: CarteNav
  • Downlink System: ECS
  • AIS: CNS Systems
  • Training & Simulation Equipment: Aero Simulators

Looking Beyond the Horizon

Since the demands of multi-mission aviation are diverse, technology is continually changing, and resources are not endless, ABT’s philosophy of constant innovation and matching customers’ requirements with the right turn-key solution, puts them on a great vector into the future.

Ever since ABT opened its hangar doors for business in 2008, they have never wavered from their core principles of precision and customer service. They pride themselves on being platform and systems agnostics and always believe the customer has the last word.

According to Wolfgang Grumeth, Airborne Technologies CEO, “Everyone at ABT believes every problem has a solution, and every solution is handled with precision. Our EASA certifications enable us both, to modify existing customer platforms and to offer complete turnkey solutions consisting of a new aircraft and sensor package.

“We at ABT always ensure that the entire process from design up to flight testing and certification is completed with precision and that our customer's complex needs and requirements are met two-fold.”

More information from https://www.airbornetechnologies.at/

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