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HAL, in collaboration with Bengaluru-based New Space Research & Technologies, has revealed the specifications for its ambitious project to transform the Kiran MK-II intermediate jet-powered trainer aircraft into the CATS OMCA (optically-manned combat aircraft). This project marks a significant development in India’s pursuit of cutting-edge unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.

Operating within the UHF Band (450MHz-500MHz), the UHF Data Link boasts a range exceeding 100 kilometers in the Telemetry-Only mode. This mode transmits critical data such as aircraft status, mission parameters, and audio communication. Additionally, the system operates at a range of 10 kilometers or more when transmitting both Telemetry and Video data, providing real-time situational awareness.

The UHF Data Link offers impressive data transmission rates. In the Telemetry-Only mode, the downlink data rate is at least 200Kbps, ensuring reliable communication of vital information. In the Telemetry and Video mode, the data rate escalates to a staggering 2Mbps, enabling smooth video transmission for enhanced situational awareness and mission control.

The uplink data rate is also at least 200Kbps, facilitating efficient transmission of Command & Control information and audio data. The system caters to one audio channel with a data rate of 8kbps, providing clear and consistent communication between the ground station and the CATS OMCA.

The UHF Data Link incorporates robust anti-jamming features to ensure secure and reliable communication even in challenging environments. Uplink data utilizes Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) technology, while downlink data employs DSSS in the Telemetry-Only mode and Plain modulation in the Telemetry and Video mode. Further enhancing security, the system utilizes AES-256 encryption for secure data transmission.

The UHF Data Link Unit forms the backbone of the CATS OMCA’s communication and control system. It enables both point-to-point and Line of Sight (LOS) data communication in the UHF band, employing Time Division Duplexing (TOD) for efficient data transfer. This advanced system ensures effective communication between the CATS OMCA and the ground station, enabling real-time mission control and enhanced operational effectiveness.

Key Specifications:

  • Frequency Band: UHF Band (450MHz to 500MHz), TOD Band
  • Operational Range:
    • = 100Km in TM Only Mode (Telemetry, Command & Control, and Audio data)
    • = 10Km in TM+Video Mode (Telemetry, Video, Command & Control, and Audio data)
  • Downlink Data Rate:
    • = 200Kbps in TM Only mode
    • = 2Mops in TM+Video mode
  • Uplink Data Rate: >= 200Kbps (Command & Control and Audio data)
  • Audio Channel:
    • 8kbps bandwidth
    • Microphone level: 4 to 6 mV across 150 ohms balanced
    • Audio output: 100mW across 50 ohms
  • Anti-jamming features:
    • Uplink: Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS)
    • Downlink: Plain in TM+Video mode, DSSS in TM Only mode
  • Encryption: AES-256


The UHF Data Link Unit facilitates point-to-point line-of-sight data communication between the CATS OMCA and the ground control station. It operates in the UHF band and utilizes Time Division Duplexing (TOD) technology for simultaneous uplink and downlink communication.

Operational Modes:

  • TM Only Mode: Transmits telemetry, command & control, and audio data. Offers long-range operation (>= 100Km).
  • TM+Video Mode: Transmits telemetry, video, command & control, and audio data. Provides real-time video feed but with a shorter operational range (>= 10Km).


The system utilizes AES-256 encryption to ensure secure communication and protect sensitive data from unauthorized access.

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