High Altitude Helikite RF over Fiber Radio Relay

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Military radio and data communications always present a challenge in difficult and inhospitable terrain. Typically these situations require high power transmission signals when using only ground-based radio systems. An alternative to this is to create a radio re-broadcaster (rebro) on an aerostat or blimp. However this can lead to other difficulties, such as encrypted assets in the air, targets for enemy fire and deployment issues.

In an ideal world you would have:

  • long-range radio contact in mountainous and urban environments
  • line of sight communication
  • no encrypted assets outside the operating base
  • low power transmission signals
  • reliability in all weather conditions
  • secure communications
  • low weight and easy deployment.

These “ideals” can be realized by using an Allsopp Helikite in conjunction with a ViaLite RF over fiber system and at a lower cost than alternative solutions.

High altitude antenna fed by ViaLite RFoF cable, lifted on low/high-visibility Helikite flying beyond small arms range

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ViaLite provides engineered solutions to match your radio interface requirements, effectively re-broadcasting the radio signals at high altitude on the Helikite. The ViaLite RF over fiber system provides:

  • low weight and low power RF over fiber electronics on the Helikite
  • low RF power transmission with minimum propagation loss
  • battery powered system with solar recharge potential
  • no loss of signal over long distance optical cabling
  • small size and easily deployed Helikite
  • tried and trusted RF over fiber technology with many years of use in theater.


Helikite – High Altitude RF over Fiber Radio and Data Relay


Helikites can lift significant payloads and are more reliable in flight over long periods than other aerostats, blimps, UAVs or manned aircraft.


Small translucent Helikites are difficult to target. The flying line is thin and hard to see. The Helikite winch is hidden away and unattended for extended periods. Low loss fiber optic cable is run back to the operating base.


No encrypted or sensitive equipment are lifted on the Helikite when using ViaLite RF over fiber technology. Reduced personnel requirement increases safety.

Simple and low cost

Helikites are very quick and easy to deploy, and require minimal training. Helikites can fly unattended for weeks at a time. The cost per square mile of radio coverage is low compared to other radio relay systems.


No need to wait for air force cooperation, UAV pilot training or satellite availability. Simply release a Helikite for instant radiorelay. No requirement to involve any personnel from other units.

Unlimited bandwidth and fine reception

Additional Helikites provide increased bandwidth. Helikites are electronically silent, so even long-distance or weak signals can be received. Line-of-site communication allows low transmission power reducing battery power requirements.


Both the Helikite and ViaLite RF over fiber components are based on COTS equipment.

Helikite data link requirements

12 ft long, 11 cubic meter stealth Helikite
1 x Helikite hand winch (or powered winch) and Dyneema line.
4 x 2ft tall helium bottles weighing 13kg each.
1 x operator and all-terrain vehicle.
1 x ViaLite RF over fiber system plus small diameter fiber cable of the desired length.


Helikite Design – Advanced, High Altitude, Tethered Aerostat


Harnessing both the reliable lift of helium and the considerable power of the wind, the Helikite has excellent payload performance. Many times the load bearing ability of similar sized blimps.


Even the smallest Helikites fly well in high winds. Stability is ensured by the aerodynamic design, the stiff carbon-fiber spar and the relatively high gas pressure.

High altitude

Helikites fly at high altitude to thousands of feet. They are naturally pushed skywards by both the helium blimp and wind forces acting on the kite. Tether weight and drag is very low.

Extreme endurance

Helikites are designed to fly unattended for long periods and in all weathers. Helikites behave like aerials and with their excellent helium holding ability they have endurance measured in weeks rather than hours.


High Altitude Helikite RF over Fiber Radio Relay
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