Honeywell and Inmarsat announced completion of an exclusive agreement for Honeywell to develop onboard hardware for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress high-speed satcom system. Global Xpress will use three Ka-band Boeing 702 HP satellites to cover most of the world except remote polar regions with broadband connections of up to 5 Mbps uplink and 50 Mbps downlink. Airtime is expected to cost much less than current Ku-band satcom.
The first Ka-band satellite launches in the middle of next year and should begin commercial service by the end of the year for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and a large part of Asia. The other two will begin service 12 months later, according to Global Xpress managing director Leo Mondale. “The exclusive portion [of the Honeywell agreement] relates to air transport and business aviation and covers a large part of the equipment that supports the ecosystem,” he said.
In addition to serving mobile-device-toting passengers, Honeywell “is looking at how we can provide aircraft-level information, such as remote maintenance, diagnostics and health monitoring, using the Ka-band system,” said Honeywell Aerospace v-p of marketing and product management Carl Esposito. The Global Xpress agreement, he added, “validates the strategy of [last year’s EMS Technologies] acquisition and the focus of global connectivity.”