The next major step in satellite communication services will be the deployment of Inmarsat’s new Ka-band GX (Global Xpress) satellite constellation. Satellite service provider Satcom Direct (Booth P212) has ordered 10 shipsets of the new satcom system for its business aviation clients. The three Inmarsat-5 satellites are scheduled to be in orbit by the end of this year, and GX Aviation services should start in the first half of 2015.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today there will be “no time limit” in the search for a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 that has been missing since March 8. On March 28, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) announced that the search area for Flight 370 had been refined to a new location nearly 700 miles north of the earlier search region of the southern Indian Ocean.
Honeywell BendixKing’s new AeroWave 100 satcom system, introduced yesterday at the Aircraft Electronics Association convention, offers 3G-like data speeds in a system designed for installation in light aircraft, from piston twins to turboprops and light jets. AeroWave is an Inmarsat L-band satcom that offers speeds of 150 to 200 kbps, and its price of $20,000 is about a third of the cost of Honeywell’s Aspire SwiftBroadband satcom (about 400 kbps).
Low-cost carriers (LCCs) have succeeded in Southeast Asia more than in perhaps any other part of the world. Whereas LCCs carry around 26 percent of global traffic, in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines that figure has exceeded 50 percent. With China’s skies being opened to LCCs the expansion in the Asia Pacific region is set to carry on.
Honeywell and Inmarsat have finalized the critical design review of the GX Aviation avionics, which is promised to bring “home equivalent” high-speed broadband service to both business jets and airliners. Certification of the avionics is expected later this year, followed by product introduction during the first half of next year.
BizjetMobile has introduced the new Grrrilla Inmarsat-based portable communications device, which allows airborne users to access the Internet and send text messages and emails from almost anywhere in the world. Unlike its current Iridium-based systems, BizjetMobile’s Grrrilla enables users to download email attachments or surf the Internet for as long as needed.
The first Inmarsat-5 Ka-band Global Xpress satellite was launched successfully on December 8. The satellite was expected to reach its final position in a geo-synchronous elliptical orbit by the end of last month. This is the first of three satellites that will create the seamless GX Aviation high-speed satcom network, with performance up to 50 Mbps that can deliver streaming video. GX Aviation mobile broadband service is slated to begin next year, after two other satellites are sent aloft this year. Each satellite weighs more than six metric tons and can provide 89 Ka-band beams.
Inmarsat successfully launched the first of three satellites in the Global Xpress constellation network, which–when fully operational–will provide airborne broadband around the globe at speeds of up to 50 Mbps. The just-launched satellite will cover the Indian Ocean region. The remaining satellites are expected to launch in the second and third quarters of next year, providing global coverage by the end of the year. Honeywell is exclusively developing, producing and distributing the onboard hardware that will connect users to the Global Xpress network.
Chicago Jet Group has received the first-ever FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) for a future air navigation system (FANS) 1/A+ and controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) retrofit. The FANS/CPDLC system is installed in a Dassault Falcon 50 managed by Chicago Jet and also represents the first FANS-over-Iridium retrofit for a business jet. FANS capability will be required for flying the most efficient tracks across the North Atlantic, and this retrofit not only enables that capability but also meets the upcoming Eurocontrol Link 2000+ mandates. These mandates kick in on Feb.
Business aviation stands to be one of the beneficiaries of Cobham Satcom’s new Aviator S family of satellite communications systems, which should be FAA-approved some time in 2015. The UK-based group, which last year acquired satcom specialist Thrane & Thrane, unveiled the Aviator S technology at June’s Paris Air Show. The key breakthrough is the company’s success in reducing the number of boxes required for the system from three to two, by incorporating the amplifier and diplexer into the antenna unit.