Satcom Direct has installed the first Plane Simple Ka-band antenna on a business jet; its own SD Gulfstream G550.
The prototype terminal consists of two line-replaceable units (LRUs) – the tail-mount antenna and SD Modem Unit. The installation is testing the hardware’s compatibility with Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX inflight broadband service, powered by its Global Xpress constellation.
The antenna is the second terminal in the SD Plane Simple antenna series and 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.
“Owners and operators depend on us to deliver reliable and consistent service, and our Plane Simple antenna systems satisfy this demand,” said Chris Moore, SD president. “We’ve rigorously tested the Plane Simple Ku-band, which has performed beyond expectations. Now, 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.”
“Like SD, our aim is to give customers best-in-class consistent, global coverage, now and in the future,” said Kai Tang, head of business aviation, Inmarsat. “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.