Press release

SoftBank Corp. Develops Aircraft That Delivers Telecommunications Connectivity From the Stratosphere

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SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) today announced the launch of a High
Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business through HAPSMobile Inc.
(“HAPSMobile”), a joint venture between SoftBank and US-based company
AeroVironment, Inc. With the aim of constructing a HAPS system that
delivers telecommunications network connectivity from the sky for a
global business, HAPSMobile developed “HAWK30,” an unmanned aircraft for
stratospheric telecommunications platform system that flies at altitudes
of approximately 20 kilometers.

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HAPS refers to systems where unmanned objects such as aircraft flying in
the stratosphere can be operated like telecommunication base stations to
deliver connectivity across wide areas. By utilizing HAPS, SoftBank will
be able to build stable Internet connection environments at locations
unserved by telecommunication networks, such as mountainous terrain,
remote islands and developing countries. Furthermore, by efficiently
interconnecting with current telecommunication networks, SoftBank will
be able to realize wide-area connectivity that spans both the sky and
the ground to enable drone utilization, as well as contribute to the
adoption of IoT and 5G. Since HAPS can provide stable telecommunications
networks without being affected by situations on the ground, the
technology is also expected to help assist rescue and recovery efforts
during times of disasters.

“HAWK30”, the unmanned aircraft for stratospheric telecommunications
platform developed by HAPSMobile, measures approximately 78 meters long.
Powered by solar panels on its wings that house 10 propellers, “HAWK30”
can fly at speeds of approximately 110 kilometers per hour on average.
Since “HAWK30” flies at high altitudes above the clouds, its solar
panels are continually powered by sunlight. “HAWK30” can also be flown
for long periods that range up to a number of months since it takes
advantage of the stratosphere’s climate, which sees winds that are
relatively gentle year-round.

The telecommunications network to be delivered to the ground by “HAWK30”
is expected to use a system that does not interfere with the networks of
terrestrial base stations. Furthermore, smooth handovers between
networks provided by terrestrial base stations and by “HAWK30” will also
be possible. As a result, communication disruption will not occur even
when a person using a smartphone moves from a base station covered area
to a “HAWK30” covered area.

With a view to providing sky-based telecommunications networks that
utilize HAPS globally, HAPSMobile will conduct research and development
and flight tests while coordinating with the relevant authorities in
various countries and giving consideration to business-related
regulations. HAPSMobile is targeting 2023 for “HAWK30” mass production
and service launch.

The HAPS business is being positioned as an initiative for SoftBank’s
“Beyond Japan” strategy that takes insights from successful businesses
from Japan to the global stage. By providing innovative services and
deploying global businesses, SoftBank aims to maximize corporate value.

About HAPSMobile Inc.

HAPSMobile is a joint venture between SoftBank Corp. and Aerovironment,
Inc. formed in December 2017 to plan and operate the HAPS business with
the aim of bridging the world’s digital divide. HAPSMobile is mainly
engaged in network equipment research and development for the HAPS
business, construction of core networks, new business planning and
activities for spectrum usage. For more information visit

About AeroVironment, Inc.

AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) provides customers with more actionable
intelligence so they can proceed with certainty. Based in California,
AeroVironment is a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems and
tactical missile systems, and serves defense, government and commercial
customers. For more information visit