ThinKom Solutions is supplying its ThinAir Ka2517 aero satellite antennas to GDC Technics, in support of Inmarsat’s GX terminal and associated inflight broadband services. According to ThinKom, the low-profile Ka-band phased-array antenna was selected by Inmarsat based on reliability and performance criteria, following more than 18 months of collaboration and field testing by ThinKom and GDC.
The Ka2517 will serve as an enabling technology, underpinning Inmarsat’s GX Aviation broadband satellite inflight connectivity (IFC) systems, including the new GX+ North American IFC service announced by Inmarsat and Hughes Network Systems earlier this year.
The Ka2517 is based on ThinKom’s VICTS antenna technology, which according to the company has accumulated over 18 million operational hours on more than 1,550 commercial aircraft, with a mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) of over 100,000 hours.
ThinKom states that the VICTS antenna provides spectral efficiency and high throughput, as well as uninterrupted pole-to-pole connectivity at extremely high and low elevation angles. The antenna’s low power consumption translates into very low heat generation inside the radome, enabling uninterrupted gate-to-gate operation, even during high ambient temperatures with full solar loading.
“The Ka2517 antenna fully complies with new regulatory requirements, including WRC-19 EISM and ITU Article 22, ensuring non-interference with terrestrial 5G cellular networks or with GEO satellites when being used on NGSO networks,” explained Bill Milroy, chairman and chief technical officer of ThinKom Solutions. “It also offers the switching speeds and agility to interoperate seamlessly with new multi-layered GEO, HEO and NGSO satellite networks.”
GDC’s next-generation IFC terminals with Ka2517 antennas have received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) on Boeing B737-700 aircraft. GDC has planned a full range of STCs in early 2021 for the Airbus A320 family, additional B737 models, and Boeing B787 and B777 aircraft.