Thales, SES. and Hughes Network Systems have announced a set of strategic agreements to enhance the delivery of FlytLIVE, Thales’ inflight connectivity solution.
Under the agreements, SES will contract capacity on Hughes EchoStar XVII and EchoStar XIX high throughput (HTS) Ka-band satellites to complement its AMC-15 and AMC-16 network. giving FlytLIVE the only redundant coverage network in North America.
SES will also purchase multiple JUPITER System gateways from Hughes to qualify Thales to deploy its FlytLIVE service on Hughes JUPITER Aeronautical platform.
This will allow Thales to initiate its next-generation connected inflight experience offering in North America this year.
The system being deployed is forward compatible with SES-17, SES’ powerful Ka-band HTS satellite optimised for aviation connectivity and expected to launch in 2020, so ensuring Thales’ airline clients have a clear and effective path for accommodating the ever-growing traffic demands of their passengers.
FlytLIVE by Thales provides passengers the with full broadband Internet connectivity, including the ability to stream Internet services for video, games, social media and live television, creating an immersive and engaging experience in the air.
In addition, this new service enables airlines to upload content, download operational data, and provide live television channels to their entire fleet through managed end-to-end solutions and network services.
In 2016, SES and Thales announced an agreement to procure and commercialise SES-17 and to leverage SES’ existing AMC-15 and AMC-16 satellites for FlytLIVE.
This new set of strategic agreements between SES, Thales and Hughes provide Thales with an expanded scope of HTS Ka-band satellite capacity and the latest and most advanced aeronautical platform available today.
The combination of Hughes EchoStar XVII and XIX Ka-band satellites with SES’ AMC-15 and AMC-16 network provide for expanded satellite capacity, coverage, and redundancy over North America.
With these four satellites and the Hughes JUPITER System aeronautical platform, Thales will be positioned to offer the most comprehensive connectivity and content services for the full gamut of North American flight routes, including routes between the North East U.S. and Canada and the Caribbean, which to-date have been underserved as these flight routes are predominantly over open ocean.
Thales says this combination of coverage, performance, redundancy, and network robustness will be unique to FlytLIVE.
At the centre of the new service is Hughes high-performance JUPITER system that is already in operation for broadband enterprise and consumer services in other major markets globally and will be introduced for aeronautical use on the Thales FlytLIVE network.
Unique features of the network include rapid beam-to-beam and satellite-to-satellite switching and DVB-S2x transmission. Thales has already begun service testing using its new Thales Ka-band aero antenna and the Hughes JUPITER technology.
SES will also purchase multiple Hughes JUPITER System gateways to support traffic carried over AMC-15 and AMC-16, as well as SES-17, when it enters service.
FlyLIVE’s network will support growing passenger service demands and will comfortably accommodate forecasted traffic increases through the launch of SES-17, which is manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and configured with close to 200 spot beams and coverage tailored to aviation and mobility markets.
Dominique Giannoni, CEO, Thales InFlyt Experience, said: “Our experience and position as a global leader in satellites, avionics, cybersecurity and connected inflight entertainment means we are able to deliver the most capable solutions our customers expect.
“With these strategic agreements with SES and Hughes, Thales FlytLIVE service will be uniquely able to deliver airlines and their passengers with an unsurpassed, connected inflight entertainment experience.”
Elias Zaccack, Senior Vice President of SES’s Global Mobility Team and the Americas region, SES, said: “This agreement confirms once again SES’s ability to provide scalable solutions tailored to match our customers’ specific requirements.
“Not only are we developing SES-17, a next-generation satellite that Thales will use to meet the future inflight connectivity demands of the next decade, but we are also providing a superior, tailor-made, multi-satellite and multi-beam solution today, in 2017, utilising assets already in orbit.
“This is only possible thanks to the combination of our existing robust and flexible network with our long-standing relationship with Hughes and Thales.”