Dassault and satcom hardware manufacturer Thrane & Thrane (Booth No. 1858) this week are celebrating a milestone on the path to SwiftBroadband availability with the October 11 first successful proof-of-concept demonstration of airborne connectivity near Paris aboard a Dassault Falcon 900.
SwiftBroadband is expected to become fully accessible from Inmarsat 4 (I-4) satellites in November 2007 with flight validated aero equipment available in the first quarter of 2008. The October 11 test exercised a Thrane & Thrane SwiftBroadband-capable high-speed satellite data unit designed for ground use that replaced the existing Swift64 high-speed satellite data unit in the satcom equipment installed on the long-range Dassault jet. Thrane & Thrane is currently developing an aeronautically qualified SwiftBroadband high-speed unit (HSU) capable of continuous reception and transmission from a fast-moving platform.
Gitte Elsing, Thrane & Thrane aeronautical sales director, pointed out during a demonstration yesterday aboard a Falcon 900 at the NBAA’06 static display that her company’s Inmarsat Aero-HSD+ (Swift64 enabled) satcom equipment suite was able to receive data at up to 423 kbps simply by switching HSUs. During the test, the ground-qualified unit, designed to interface with only one specific I-4 satellite, maintained an average data rate of 200 kbps.
Dassault Falcon spokesman Andrew Ponzoni noted that Dassault and Thrane & Thrane are working closely to refine and validate the protocols for airborne BGAN functionality and to test appropriate aeronautical hardware. Thrane & Thrane has developed and built much of the Inmarsat ground infrastructure including that through which all Inmarsat aero services pass, putting it in position to use transmissions directly from the spacecraft to test its aeronautical equipment.
Eric Monsel, Dassault Falcon v-p, programs, said the French manufacturer expects one of its aircraft to be first able to receive SwiftBroadband when it becomes continuously available from I-4 satellites next year, using aeronautically qualified Thrane & Thrane equipment. Ponzoni added that Dassault is also offering satellite communication options with varying levels of connectivity and functions which utilize Iridium and Arinc SkyLink satellite services, for example.