Skip to Main Content
Current intercommunications system (ICS) designs for military, multicrew aircraft utilize lengthy, encumbering cords to physically attach the crewmember's helmet or headset to a distributed audio intercom system. Typical ICS long-cords are approximately 100 feet in length and allow crewmembers to maintain communications as they move about the aircraft while performing their mission duties. These cords also allow crewmembers to maintain communications with the aircraft when disembarked, as when they are controlling aircraft during engine start-up. Unfortunately, the current wired topology significantly reduces mission effectiveness, impedes crewmember movement, and greatly increases the crewmember's risk of injury. These drawbacks are more pronounced onboard military rotary winged aircraft (helicopters) where several crewmembers have been injured or killed during emergencies requiring the aircraft to ditch at sea. During ditching, crewmembers often became entangled in their lengthy ICS cord, preventing or delaying aircraft egress. This paper discusses the development of an aircraft wireless intercommunications system (AWICS) which utilizes ultra wideband (UWB) technology to address mission requirements for these multicrew, military aircraft. UWB offers unique advantages in this application - multipath mitigation, low probability of detection, low probability of interference to onboard legacy systems, and high throughput in a multiuser environment.