Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) has announced that Honeywell Aerospace, SKYTRAC, Avitek and Navicom Aviation are the first Iridium Certus service providers to be selected for the aviation industry.
As Iridium Certus service providers, each company will be able to offer the new, best-in-class broadband satellite connectivity to its customers. Ideal for commercial airliner flight deck communications, rotorcraft as well as flight deck and cabin business jet connectivity, Iridium Certus will soon offer the industry’s fastest L-Band speeds. This will be delivered through small form factor, cost-effective antennas with the same reliable pole-to-pole coverage only provided by the Iridium® network.
A recognized leader in the aviation industry and long-time Iridium partner, Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft. Honeywell Aerospace works to develop innovative solutions to increase aircraft efficiency, reduce pilot workload and improve passenger safety and comfort.
SKYTRAC provides performance trending, operations reporting, real-time asset tracking and situational awareness solutions to the aviation industry. SKYTRAC will extend Iridium Certus services to aviation partners as well as delivering the technology on their ISAT-200A hardware.
Based in China, Avitek is a leading aviation solutions company that provides onboard communications, ADS-B, ACARS and Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) services. Avitek has been instrumental in equipping airliners throughout China with Iridium satellite communications devices to meet the Airline Operational Communications voice mandate by the Civil Aviation Authority of China. The introduction of Iridium Certus will allow Avitek to enhance the capability of the data solutions it offers and improve flight standards and operations as a result.
Navicom Aviation, based in Japan, is dedicated to the safe and efficient operation of aircraft. With a large number of helicopters in Japan serving public safety efforts for police and fire departments and the Japanese Coast Guard, Navicom plays a vital role in ensuring their aircraft stay connected. Navicom will provide the Iridium Certus service in support of their goal to help improve flight support systems for the overall aviation industry.
Enabled by the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, Iridium Certus will bring broadband functionality, with enterprise-grade quality of service, to the aviation industry. It will feature a range of throughput and service options that will enable everything from graphical weather reports, multi-user internet/VPN and VSAT redundancy to flight data recorder streaming, video conferencing, and, upon formal approval, safety services. The Iridium Certus high-gain antenna (HGA) solutions will provide data speed options of up to 704 Kbps, and eventually as high as approximately 1.4 Mbps following full Iridium NEXT deployment, with an antenna size of approximately 24 x 10 x 6cm, while the low-gain antenna (LGA) solutions will enable data speeds of up to 176 Kbps.
Initial flight trials will take place later this year, with Iridium Certus commercial service introduction expected in mid-2019 for aviation users. Commercial service introduction for other verticals, such as maritime and land-mobile, is planned for mid-2018. Iridium NEXT is the Company’s next-generation satellite constellation. To date, there have been four successful Iridium NEXT launches, deploying more than half of the new constellation. Four additional launches are planned for 2018.
SKYTRAC President, Malachi Nordine, stated that the company's mission is to drive flight safety and efficiency through streamlined air-to-ground connectivity. With its higher bandwidth, Iridium Certus will allow the company to deliver more power to recent innovations such as real-time health and usage monitoring and weather to cockpit, while also offering highest-quality voice services.
John Peterson, Honeywell’s senior director of services and connectivity, chimed in by stating that Iridium Certus will extend Honeywell’s vision for the Connected Aircraft by enabling high-speed data rates for all aircraft types operating anywhere in the world. Combining the capabilities of the new Iridium constellation with GoDirect’s Flight Services, Connected Maintenance, and Optimization Analytics will bring even greater operational efficiency for Honeywell’s thousands of airline, military, business and commercial operators.
Brian Pemberton, VP of strategic planning and general manager aviation at Iridium, added that Iridium Certus is poised to introduce a revolution in aircraft communications. Iridium Certus leverages the inherent advantages of the Iridium network and architecture and combines that with enhanced capabilities of the Iridium NEXT constellation to redefine best-in-class aircraft connectivity. Iridium Certus satisfies the connectivity requirements for the flight deck as well as serves as an ideal cabin connectivity solution for many business aviation users.