[Satnews] Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L) has signed an agreement for Cobham SATCOM to design and produce an advanced Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) terminal as part of its recently announced European Aviation Network high-speed in-flight connectivity solution.
The compact, lightweight and cost effective terminal will be a vital component in the European Aviation Network, which was unveiled earlier this month as the first aviation passenger connectivity solution in Europe to combine an advanced satellite network, operated by Inmarsat, and LTE-based ground network, operated by Deutsche Telekom. As a result, commercial and business airlines will be able to offer reliable, high-speed internet access to passengers during flights across the continent’s high-traffic flight paths, utilising Inmarsat’s 30MHz (2 x 15MHz) S-band spectrum allocation in all 28 EU member states.
The European Aviation Network will allow aircraft to switch automatically from Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity to Deutsche Telekom’s terrestrial component using an onboard network communicator, without any impact or interference to service delivery. The new terminal will exploit the latest advances in Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) technology to enable a direct connection between aircraft and Inmarsat’s state-of-the-art S-band satellite, which is currently being manufactured by Thales Alenia Space. Cobham SATCOM is also responsible for updating the Inmarsat BGAN ground infrastructure to accommodate S-band operation as part of its agreement with Inmarsat.
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Although airlines have understood the importance of offering passengers advanced inflight connectivity for some time, suitable technology has not been available to meet the needs of modern travellers until now. The European Aviation Network will be the first solution to provide consistent, reliable high quality broadband across Europe, even during peak hours and over busy flight paths. We have a successful track record of working with Cobham SATCOM and are delighted to welcome them as the latest European partner on this ambitious project, alongside Deutsche Telekom and Thales Alenia Space. Together, we are supporting European aviation and helping to position Europe as the forefront of global technology innovation.”
Kim Gram, Vice President Aeronautical Business Unit, Cobham SATCOM, said: “We are updating the BGAN infrastructure to run S-band and developing an S-band terminal. This will form part of our commitment to develop a generation of new technologies that will meet the continued push for broadband in the cabin and on the flight deck. As part of the European Aviation Network, Cobham SATCOM will build on the original BGAN ground infrastructure that we established with Inmarsat, resulting in improved in-flight connectivity and communication applications for more passengers. Combined with the success of our established AVIATOR portfolio of compact systems and new AVIATOR S product family, this new agreement with Inmarsat is another significant step forward for the ‘connected aircraft’.”