AIX2016: QEST displays new flat phased array antenna

QEST's Michael Stobinski and its phased array antenna.
QEST’s Michael Stobinski and its new  phased array antenna.

QEST (Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH) is displaying its new flat phased-array antenna for satellite-based inflight connectivity applications.

The company says it features excellent receiving and transmission performance, along with reduced size and weight.

Broadband antennas for inflight connectivity predominantly use a mechanically-steered system, requiring a positioning platform to point the antenna beam at the satellite. But this comes with a size and associated weight penalty.

QEST’s new, flat phased-array antenna features internal, electronic beam steering that replaces the mechanical positioning platform, resulting in an antenna that is smaller, flatter and lighter.

QEST

The company has also integrated the antenna and aerodynamic cover (radome) into a single compact device, achieving further weight savings.

These phased array antennas will be available for use on both the Ku- and Ka-bands.

Dr. Jörg Oppenländer, CTO at QEST, said: “Ongoing simulations and initial tests of our novel phased array technology are producing very good results.

“We are planning to finalise a first functional demonstration unit by the end of the year and series production should start in 2018”.

Speaking to Get Connected at the show, Michael Stobinski, CCO at QEST, added: “The required satellite bandwidth represents a large portion of the operating expenses of connectivity.

“The more efficient the antenna system is at utilising this precious bandwidth, the more economical is the overall operation of connectivity services for airlines.

“Flat-panel phased arrays have attracted a lot of interest recently. They can work down to a radiation angle of around 20 degrees and have a very slim form factor. They don’t suit every application, such as high latitude usage, but have a very strong role to play on, say, flights across the USA.”

Stobinski confirmed that the antenna is being developed solely by QEST.

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