Aviation connectivity company, Inmarsat, has unveiled details of a next-generation terminal for its GX Aviation inflight broadband system, which has been developed in collaboration with GDC Technics, a provider of engineering & technical services, modifications and electronic systems for aircraft.
Inmarsat says that the lightweight, low-drag terminal has been designed to ensure that the connectivity needs of data-hungry passengers are met for generations to come, allowing them to stream high-definition videos, play online video games, download documents and more, via their personal electronic devices.
Following a range of technology assessments and test flights over the past 12 months, the partners say that the new terminal has demonstrated its ability to consistently deliver high levels of connectivity on board aircraft, even over the world’s busiest airspaces. In addition, upcoming enhancements to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network are expected to further bolster the terminal’s performance in the near future.
The next-generation terminal includes a robust flat panel antenna developed by Thinkom, which has millions of flight hours behind it. In addition, it has been integrated with smart dual aero modem technology that supports Inmarsat’s GX+ North America service, announced with Hughes Network Systems last week.
Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “GX Aviation is well established as the gold standard in inflight broadband and we have a fully-funded technology roadmap to ensure it remains the unrivalled choice for aviation connectivity. This includes the addition of seven more satellites into our global GX network over the next four years, as well as cutting-edge hardware innovation such as this new terminal.
“As a result, our existing and future customers are perfectly positioned to meet increasing passenger expectations for consistent, reliable, high-speed connectivity wherever they fly. There is already interest and excitement for this solution – especially around the terminal’s enhanced performance and its simple integration with both legacy systems and existing partners. GDC, as an experienced and credible aerospace company, has proved an exceptional partner on this project.”
Brad Foreman, CEO of GDC Technics, added that the next-generation terminal for GX Aviation also boasts one of the lowest engineering failure rates in the market.
The GDC Technics terminal has been certified and is now flying on Boeing 737-700 aircraft. Additional retrofit and linefit certifications are currently in progress and expected to be available by the end of this year, including retrofit options for the Airbus A320/330 family, and the Boeing B787 and B777 aircraft. Customers can either select a ‘low profile’ configuration for the terminal, which drives operational efficiency, or an option with standard tri-band radomes for the retrofit market. Both options, coupled with a very high-reliability antenna, are intended to offer a reduced cost of ownership.