Falcon 300, an advanced new terminal for Inmarsat’s GX Aviation inflight broadband is now ready for deployment, following the company’s report of a successful conclusion of a flight trial campaign. According to Inmarsat, during the test programme the performance of the terminal was tested across more than 320 simultaneous online user sessions and it achieved sustained throughput of more than 200Mbps.
The lightweight, low-drag Falcon 300 terminal, developed with Stellar Blu (previously GDC Technics), has now received full type approval for use over Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network. It will enter commercial service with Saudia, Saudi Arabia’s national airline, from early 2023, under an agreement for GX Aviation to be installed and activated on 35 of the carrier’s Airbus A321neo and Airbus A321XLR aircraft.
The terminal has been designed to meet the increasing connectivity demands of airline passengers, enabling them to stream high-definition videos, download documents, browse the internet, shop online, use social media and more, all via their personal electronic devices such as smartphones or tablets.
The high-performance terminal is fully compatible with all existing and upcoming satellites from Inmarsat’s GX network. Key features include Stellar Blu’s modem manager (MODMAN), exclusive components from Kontron, and a next-generation modem from iDirect, together with a proven flat-panel antenna from ThinKom. As a means to boost efficiencies and reduce costs, Inmarsat’s Advanced Integrated Services Manager (AISM) will be natively hosted on the MODMAN, enabling passenger sessions and traffic to be managed without the need for separate hardware.
William Huot-Marchand, Inmarsat Aviation’s SVP of inflight connectivity, said “Inmarsat’s GX Aviation inflight broadband solution is firmly established as a global market leader and we have a number of exciting developments in the pipeline to build on this success for generations to come. A key aspect is this new, ultra-high performance terminal with Stellar Blu, which will provide airlines with optimised connectivity from day one, plus additional performance enhancements in the future thanks to Inmarsat’s fully funded technology roadmap. The results of our flight trials have demonstrated the terminal’s ability to consistently deliver the highest levels of connectivity, even over the world’s busiest airspaces. And with final type approval now in place, we are fast approaching commercial service at the beginning of next year.”
The hardware has been designed to combine high reliability with low-drag performance in order to lower the total cost of ownership and its impact on fuel burn and CO2 emissions.
Tracy Trent, president of Stellar Blu, added, “To remain the most reliable inflight broadband solution in the market and continuously offer greater capacity and speeds to airline customers, Inmarsat’s GX Aviation must be backed by the highest-performance hardware. It’s been our pleasure to develop and test this advanced new Falcon 300 terminal with Inmarsat, while also providing additional value as the lead for integration, certification and installations. The fact we have reached this stage in such a short timeframe is testament to the talented engineering teams on both sides, who mainly worked remotely over the last two years and rarely met in person. We look forward to seeing the Falcon 300 onboard Saudia’s Airbus A321neo and Airbus A321XLR aircraft, followed by many more airline fleets in the years to come.”