AIX2014: Honeywell GX Aviation solution gets new name

Honeywell's lightweight tail-mounted Ka-band antenna for bizjets.
Honeywell’s lightweight tail-mounted Ka-band antenna for bizjets.

Honeywell’s antennas and terminals for Inmarsat’s upcoming GX Aviation Ka-band solution have a new name.

The whole system, which comprises a tail-mounted dish antenna for bizjets, a fuselage mounted array for commercial airliners, and the associated terminal hardware, is now known as “JetWave”.

John Broughton, Honeywell’s Director Marketing and Product Management, said that the whole solution passed its Critical Design Review (CDR) in January.

It is now on schedule to achieve STCs in the first half of 2015, in time for the in-service launch of Inmarsat’s GX Aviation Ka-band service.

The tail-mounted Ka-band antenna features a parabolic dish, but has been made as light as possible so as not to upset a bizjet’s delicate weight balance.

Tipping the scales at just 9lbs it can easily be balanced on one hand, yet should be capable of achieving 33 Mbps downlink speeds.

“We are really proud of it,” said Broughton. “The low weight has been achieved through the use of lightweight materials, including composites, and a hollow alloy structure.”

The fuselage mounted antenna, which should be capable of up to 50Mbps speeds over Ka-band, features a precision-cut horn aperture by German specialist Qest.

The radomes, which have to be impervious to the ultra-high Ka-band microwave signals have proved to be a ” challenging technical problem”, but are on target for launch says Broughton.

Honeywell is also looking at how the satellite communications system could be integrated with its other product lines, perhaps offering remote health monitoring of APUs or braking systems for example.

As Broughton said: “This is all about connecting the whole aircraft, not just the cabin.”

He said the list of possible applications was endless, including wirelessly-updated flight maps, real-time weather updates, and maintenance information, as well as passenger connectivity and entertainment.

Inmarsat now has one Ka-band I-5 satellite in geostationary position with two more due to be launched by the end of the year. Boeing also has a contract for a fourth I-5 satellite, which will likely be launched into orbit to act as back-up for the constellation.

 

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