Intelsat has signed an agreement with Phasor Inc. to co-design and produce an ultra-thin, active phased-array Ku-band satellite antenna.
The Ku-band antenna will be developed exclusively for Intelsat and optimised for the Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellite (HTS) platform, the first of which is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2016.
Intelsat says this marks the first cost-effective fuselage-mount Ku-band antenna suitable for installation on civil and government small-jets, which represent an underserved segment of the fast-growing aviation broadband market.
According to recent research reports, the civil and government small-jet markets are expected to experience significant growth, particularly in the developing markets around the world.
EuroConsult reports: “The number of business jets is expected to grow from 18,400 in 2013 to 26,200 in 2023.”
Seventy-five percent of civil small-jet passengers are high-level corporate executives who consider these aircraft “offices in the sky” with a need for broadband service that is as important in the air as it is in the workplace on the ground.
When used in conjunction with Intelsat EpicNG Ku-band satellites, the Phasor antenna technology is expected to enable broadband speeds to small-jets of more than 15Mbit/s to the aircraft and 5 Mbit/s from the aircraft.
Stephen Spengler, Intelsat’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, said: “The high power of the Intelsat EpicNG platform combined with Phasor’s innovative antenna technology will unlock new market opportunities for both companies in the aviation sector.
“Today’s business and leisure travellers are demanding broadband connectivity in-flight in order to maximize their time and productivity so that they can keep up in today’s fast moving environment.
“Together, Intelsat and Phasor will provide service providers and aircraft manufacturers with more flexibility and choice as we help deliver high-speed broadband connectivity to passengers and aircraft operations that is efficient and highly reliable.”
Phasor’s ultra-thin, fuselage-mount active array antenna is expected to deliver significantly higher broadband speeds to civil and government small-jets via Intelsat EpicNG Ku-band satellites.
The antenna’s small size and low profile allows for easy integration onto small-jet aircraft’s structure. Being fully electronic, the antenna will be able to seamlessly and reliably steer to beams on Intelsat’s global Ku-band satellite fleet.
The unique size and scalability of the Phasor antenna will allow service providers and aircraft operators to create a very high gain antenna array and RF performance resulting in dramatically higher speed broadband connectivity and greater geographical coverage at a much lower installation and operating cost.
David Helfgott, CEO of Phasor, commented, “We are very pleased to partner with Intelsat and bring to the Small-Jet Aviation Marketplace a unique solution designed to meet the ever-growing demands for mobile broadband service.
“Combined with Intelsat’s innovative EpicNG satellite constellation, these markets for the first time will experience high bandwidth services enabled by a truly-revolutionary antenna solution.”