Defence and space
secure communications

Network for the Sky

Securely connect all your airborne assets together with the rest of your operations to execute the mission more efficiently and effectively. Delivering as one.


Network for the Sky (NFTS) securely and reliably connects all your airborne assets together with the rest of your operations, giving you the communications superiority to execute the mission more efficiently and effectively. Delivering as one.

It operates over a mix of technologies to form one resilient, high-speed global network that supports the most advanced applications. It allows all mission participants – including joint and coalition forces – to communicate during the entire mission, giving you enhanced situational awareness for faster, better decision-making and rapid response through more synchronised operations.

Network for the Sky is a solution from Airbus. We have unequalled breath of experience in aircraft, airborne communications systems and services – and bringing it all together into highly secure end-to-end solutions trusted by military and government customers.


NFTS delivers communications superiority as the foundation for increased mission efficiency and effectiveness, enabling you to maximise your airborne assets.



The four key pillars of Network for the Sky. Available as individual, scalable elements to a complete end-to-end solution.

  • Proteus modem
  • AirPatrol satcom antenna
  • Janus satcom antenna
  • Multi-level Security Node & Communications Manager

  • X, Ka, Ku, L-band capacity
  • LTE, UHF/VHF networks
  • Mission office in the sky: secure IP services
  • ISR services
  • Socius ISR data broadcast
  • Satellite extension to L16, UHF, LTE & wideband links

  • End-to-end communications services
  • End-to-end guaranteed bandwidth on ground network
  • Network service orchestration
  • Multi-level security
  • Interconnection from Airbus teleports
  • Customer teleport management

  • Account management & billing support
  • 24/365 helpdesk
  • Aircraft communications integration support
  • Network management requirements & planning
  • Cybersecurity risk assessment
  • Field support
  • Spares & repairs Training


NFTS operates over a secure, flexible, hybrid network that incorporates multiple technologies for better resilience. It creates an intelligent network across diverse air assets – manned and unmanned – with seamless interoperability between them. NFTS emulates the experience of today’s cellular networks in a secure airborne environment, expertly configured for the unique challenges this brings.

Read the Latest White Paper

September 2019

Improved connectivity leads to communication superiority, dramatically enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of government, military and emergency services missions. As a global leader in aeronautics and proven provider of communications services and equipment for air, land and maritime domains, Airbus understands the complexities required to enhance today’s communications. In our latest White Paper find out how Airbus Secure Communications Network for the Sky programme is demonstrating solutions for these communication challenges

White Paper – Enhanced mission effectiveness through improved connectivity

Airbus tests its Network for the Sky on a MRTT aircraft

13 June 2019

Airbus has successfully completed a flight demonstration of a connected airborne battlespace scenario, centred on a MRTT aircraft. The test was carried out as part of the development of Airbus’ Network for the Sky (NFTS) programme. This follows on from last August’s demonstration in Canada of secure mobile communications using a stratospheric balloon to simulate a HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo Satellite), such as Airbus’ Zephyr UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)

Download full article Here

Network for the Sky connectivity lab success

20th February 2019

Collaboration of Airbus Secure Communications and Airbus Military Aircraft in Madrid

A teaming between Airbus´ Network for the Sky and Military Aircraft businesses has demonstrated the benefits of advanced integrated communication solutions for air and ground-based assets and operations as part of the concept of future air power

Download full article here

Network for the Sky: Airbus successfully tests stratospheric 4G/5G defence communications with balloon demonstration

25th September 2018

Airbus has successfully tested stratospheric 4G/5G defence applications with a high-altitude balloon demonstration. The technology tested, an Airbus LTE AirNode, represents a key part of Airbus’ secure networked airborne military communications project, Network for the Sky (NFTS).

Download the full press release

Airbus reveals its Network for the Sky military communications solution

Farnborough, 13 July 2018
Airbus will unveil its secure networked airborne military communications solution, Network for the Sky (NFTS), at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018. NFTS combines different communication technologies to form one resilient global mesh network, allowing aircraft to be fully part of a high-speed connected battle space.

Leveraging its unique breadth of experience in aircraft, satellites and secure military communications, Airbus is preparing a communication network solution that is interoperable between aircraft, satellites, command centres and mobile units deployed on the ground or at sea.

Download the full press release



Stratospheric Demo

Airbus successfully tests and proved a new generation of long-range communications from the stratosphere
Demonstrating the ability to deploy private, ad hoc airborne LTE networks as a complement to satellite connectivity and UHF/VHF networks.

About the Demo

In Canada, with the support of French and Canadian space agencies, Airbus performed tests at altitudes up to 21km above the Earth’s surface, using a stratospheric balloon to create a high-altitude airborne cell site.
In its payload, the balloon carried an Airbus LTE AirNode, which provided a 30km-wide footprint of coverage for private and secure communications. The ground team, equipped with two vehicles and two drones, tracked the balloon over 200km, exchanging 4K video between the different assets – simulating an ISR mission with real-time transmission in an isolated area. The data was sent via a private network at speeds from 0.5 to 4 Mbps, which is comparable to 4G/5G mobile communication.
This data was sent via a private network from the balloon to a ground user, at speeds from 0.5 to 4 Mbps, which is comparable to 4G/5G Communications.

Demo Infographic

NFTS in action

This demonstration represents a key milestone of Airbus’ Network for the Sky vision – the ability to quickly deploy secure, ad-hoc LTE networks as a complement to satellite connectivity and UHF/VHF networks.

The balloon allowed us to test LTE performance at altitudes from the ground to 21 km above the earth’s surface – as proof of concept for creating an airborne cell site on a variety of different aircraft platforms including helicopters, tactical and MALE UAV’s, and High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS)

This capability significantly increases operational flexibility during a mission. An LTE AirNode allows opportunistic, secure communications between different aircraft as they fly within range of each other, where operations require permanent and powerful connectivity.
This demonstration proves the innovation journey in developing persistent, secure communications wherever needed most. This type of ad-hoc network can be adapted to all users – from the Special Forces Community, to Disaster Relief scenarios.
As the journey continues, The AirNode hopes to support HAPS systems to deliver highly secure, LTE coverage for other airborne assets, ground or maritime-based operations for several weeks or months at a time – combining the persistence of a satellite with the flexibility of a UAV.

Higher performance
  • Higher performance data rate comparable to 4G networks with light/mobile equipment.
  • Supporting 4K Video Transmission

Increased resilience and Enhanced Security
  • Increased Resilience and Enhanced Security complementary to satellite or VHF/UHF networks.
  • Private LTE network

Increased range
  • Enables aircraft to become a relay node between different airborne assets
  • Enables Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications for ground or maritime-based operations.

Seamless interoperability
  • Between different aircraft and ground and maritime-based operations.
  • AirNode can connect security forces from the sky without any ground infrastructure