Astronautics has completed the preliminary design review for its new connectivity platform for its air-ground communications for Airbus Helicopters.

Astronautics, based in Milwaukee, is on track for the system's expected entry into service in the fourth quarter of 2018, said Richard Ross, Astronautics’ vice president of connected aircraft solutions.

The plan is for it to be standard fit for all Airbus helicopters. The communications system for Airbus helicopter platforms will allow passengers and pilots to have complete digital connectivity, the company said.

The system includes an airborne server, wireless communications module, remote media device and ground server software to create an air-to-ground modular data transmission system.

With the system, operators will have secure protection of critical avionics from non-authorized access through a modern cybersecurity framework, wireless access to operational and maintenance data in flight and on the ground, the capability to send and receive data through a variety of communication channels, and the ability to store and retrieve hundreds of hours of operational data within the system, the company said. It is a low-cost communication system that allows operators to push data to the aircraft and retrieve data off of the aircraft securely, Ross said.