Air China selects Thales for Boeing 737 satcoms

Inmarsat satellite coverage map.
Inmarsat satellite coverage map.

Air China has selected Thales’ TopFlight SATCOM satellite communications solution for its 22 Boeing 737 aircraft, which are scheduled for delivery between 2015 and 2016.

TopFlight SATCOM (TFS) is a lightweight ARINC 781 L band SATCOM that operates over Inmarsat’s I-3 and I-4 satellite constellations.

TFS offers ATS voice (SATVOICE), non-ATS voice and data over Inmarsat Classic Aero services and/or IP connectivity with data rates of up to 432kbps per channel for non-safety cockpit and cabin services via Inmarsat Swiftbroadband (SBB) service.

The Thales TopFlight offers voice and data services for both the cockpit and cabin and was the first ARINC 781 satcom system to be certified on Boeing aircraft.

In its Boeing 737 configuration it will provide two voice and one data channels, enabling Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) and Future Air Navigation System (FANS1) communications.

This delivers Inmarsat’s L-band SwiftBroadband to the cockpit, so future-proofing cockpit connectivity. SwiftBroadband is currently undergoing safety services trials with certification planned for late 2015/2016.

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