Rockwell Collins has signed on as a service provider, as well as a “value-added manufacturer” (VAM), for Iridium’s Certus satellite connectivity services. The company will offer the L-band broadband Certus services as part of a suite of aircraft connectivity applications for its ArincDirect business, commercial, and government customers. Certus will support both flight deck and cabin connectivity. As a VAM, Rockwell Collins will design and produce Iridium Certus service terminals.
“Iridium Certus will be an important new service addition to meet the connectivity needs of commercial, business, and government aircraft,” said Michael DiGeorge, vice president of commercial aviation services for Rockwell Collins. “For our ArincDirect business aviation operators, Iridium Certus offers small form factor antennas and terminals that are ideal for operators of smaller aircraft requiring Internet connectivity.”
With the Iridium Certus high-gain antenna, data packages will initially be available at speeds up to 704 Kbps and eventually up to 1.4 Mbps. Low-gain antenna options will be available at 176 Kbps.
Flight trials for the new services are anticipated later this year, with introduction of services targeted for mid-2019. Iridium’s NEXT satellite constellation will power the Certus services. Iridium has completed six NEXT launches, deploying 55 satellites into orbit. Two more launches are slated for this year—including one tomorrow—each involving 10 more satellites.
“Given the FAA’s recent movement toward adopting satcom as a primary means of onboard communications, we believe Iridium Certus will be that much more of a shake-up to the status quo within the aviation industry, bringing new capabilities, smaller hardware, faster speeds, and competitive price packages,” said Michael Hooper, director and general manager of Iridium's aviation business, calling the agreement with Rockwell Collins “a major milestone” in the program.