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Satcom Direct, the business aviation solutions provider, has completed the installation of the first Plane Simple Ka-band antenna on the company’s SD Gulfstream G550. The prototype terminal, consisting of only two line-replaceable units (LRUs) - the tail-mount antenna and SD Modem Unit – is testing the advanced technology hardware’s compatibility with Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX inflight broadband service, powered by its Global Xpress constellation.
The antenna is functioning under an aircraft-specific supplemental type certificate (STC). Terminal validation will be conducted during regular flight operations, and the data collected will be used to finalise the design for optimised functionality.
Chris Moore, Satcom Direct’s President, said “Owners and operators depend on us to deliver reliable and consistent service, and our Plane Simple antenna systems satisfy this demand. …With the validation of the Ka-band terminal, we’re adding more value to our offering to meet the needs of our customers. We have a long-standing relationship with Inmarsat, having evolved numerous connectivity services together to deliver superior experiences to users. We are excited to begin on-wing testing with them.”
Kai Tang, Inmarsat’s Head of Business Aviation, said, “Like SD, our aim is to give customers best-in-class consistent, global coverage, now and in the future. We anticipate that SD hardware technology, combined with our enhanced next-generation satellite network, will reinforce our position as the premium connectivity experience for SD customers. We are looking forward to validating this through the testing process.”
Testing has already begun, with customer in-service evaluation scheduled to commence in Q4 2023 and subsequent STCs also to be confirmed by the end of 2023. When fully functional, the Ka-band antenna will support high-speed data transfer for teleconferencing, video streaming and multiple digital applications for high volumes of users travelling on mid to large-size jets.