Iridium Communications continues to build out its manufacturing and service partners for its new Certus aviation global L-band broadband, naming Satcom Direct (SD) a value-added manufacturer (VAM) and service provider.
SD will manufacture terminals for Iridium Certus compatibility and provide the service directly to business aircraft operators. The agreement with SD expands on an agreement announced earlier this year naming SD’s Comsat unit an Iridium Certus service provider for the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Certus products will be folded into the SD Connectivity portfolio, integrated with existing SD hardware and software. This includes the SDR and SD Hub series of cabin routers and the SD Pro platform that provide customers with cybersecurity protections, real-time data analytics capabilities, and account management, among other features.
“Due to the global nature of our business, adding Iridium Certus to our portfolio, from both a hardware and a service standpoint, is a natural fit,” said Dylan Browne, SD vice president of strategy. “Not only will Iridium Certus integrate directly with our existing platform and equipment, but it also opens a new era of possibilities for our business aviation customers.”
Iridium’s Certus service will bring lower-cost options with smaller hardware and speeds initially of up to 704 Kbps and eventually up to 1.4 Mbps. The service will operate via Iridium’s NEXT $3 billion satellite constellation. Commercial service (for aviation applications) is expected to roll out in 2019, after completion of in-flight trials. Maritime and land-mobile launch is anticipated this year.
“It’s an exciting time for Iridium, and especially for the aviation line of business,” said Bryan Hartin, executive v-p of sales and marketing at Iridium. “Between the upcoming completion of the Iridium NEXT launch campaign and the beginning of the initial flight trials, the coming months are very promising.” The company has completed seven successful Iridium NEXT launches that deployed 65 new satellites.
Hartin added that every VAM and service provider added further validates Certus and continues the momentum in the program. Other Certus partners (either VAMs and/or service providers) include Gogo, Thales, Rockwell Collins, L3 Communications, Cobham, Honeywell Aerospace, Skytrac, Avitek, and Navicom Aviation.