Boeing has signed a contract with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems to produce a new radome, the Boeing Tri-band. The radome will support Ku and K/Ka wideband commercial and military satellite communications, and will be available for both retrofit and line-fit installation in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The radome is approximately the size of a car-top luggage carrier and has a maximum weight of 80 lbs. It is designed for use with antennas from multiple manufacturers and with data services from all current providers, offering more passenger connectivity choices for Boeing aircraft operators. Based on Boeing’s proven Ku-band radome design, the new design meets or exceeds current Ku-band radome performance, according to the airframer.
“The Boeing Tri-band exemplifies the kind of competitive advantage we aim to give our customers,” said Rick Anderson, VP of sales at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Airlines are telling us that the Boeing Tri-band’s affordability, flexibility, wide range of capability and compatibility with all current data services make it ideal for their Boeing fleets, which have to quickly and economically adopt new technology to better serve passengers.”
General Dynamics will supply the radomes. “General Dynamics and Boeing have enjoyed a long partnership in radome development,” commented Jim Losse, VP of advanced materials for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. “This Ku/K/Ka tri-band system will offer the flying public better in-flight entertainment and connectivity over current single band Ku systems.”
The Tri-band radome can be mounted on new or existing aircraft mounting plates, which makes it simple and economical to retrofit. The Tri-band supports satellite communications at all frequencies currently used and planned for use, in the Ku-band and extended K- and Ka-bands.
The new radome is planned for use as a line-fit option on Boeing 737s, 747s, 777s and 787 Dreamliners. It will also be available for retrofit.