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Japan: The world's first satellite communications helicopter

Sakurajima Volcano in Kyushu, Japan, seen from space
Sakurajima Volcano in Kyushu, Japan, seen from space
Credits: NASA

This will significantly enhance the crisis response and coordination activities of Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA): the AS365 N3 helicopter. Delivered by Eurocopter Japan, this is the world's first helicopter equipped with the Helicopter satellite Communication System - a high-speed, real-time data transmission system, using Earth-orbiting relay satellites.

The HSA transmits data without being disturbed by the helicopter's moving rotor blades. It furthermore allows for perfect transmission even when mountains or tall buildings hamper line-of-site broadcasts, or when ground-based networks are interrupted.

The Eurocopter AS365 N3, equipped with HSA, will presumably be operational in early April of this year. Then it will support the organization's services in dispatching and coordinating rescue team responses to disaster situations.

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