Satcom Direct Begins Plane Simple Ka-band Tests on G550

 - January 4, 2023, 10:59 AM
Satcom Direct's Ka-band antenna has been approved for use under an aircraft-specific supplemental type certificate on the Gulfstream 550. (Photo: Satcom Direct)

Satcom Direct has mounted its Plane Simple Ka-band satcom antenna on the company’s Gulfstream 550, the first such installation on a business jet. Testing of the Ka-band satcom system will be done during normal flight operations in the G550 to validate the prototype satcom terminal and “finalize the design for optimized functionality,” according to Satcom Direct.

The Plane Simple system operates on Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX broadband satcom service, which is supported by Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite constellation. This Ka-band antenna is the second Plane Simple system, with the first developed for Ku-band satcom. Plane Simple systems consist of two LRUs, the antenna mounted on the airplane’s empennage and the SD modem unit.

In the fourth quarter, Satcom Direct plans to start customer in-service evaluation of the Ka-band Plane Simple antenna, followed by supplemental type certificates “confirmed by the end of 2023,” the company said. Installations will be available for midsize to large jets and the Ka-band service will enable high-speed data transfer to support teleconferencing and video streaming and use of multiple digital applications by large numbers of users.

“We’ve rigorously tested the Plane Simple Ku-band, which has performed beyond expectations,” said Satcom Direct president Chris Moore. “Now, with the validation of the Ka-band terminal, we’re adding more value to our offering to meet the needs of our customers.”