Iridium Safety Voice communications installs exceed 500 aircraft

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An Iridium NEXT satellite for the Iridium Safety Voice communications systemThe Iridium Safety Voice service, which is used for air traffic communications, has now been adopted by more than 500 aircraft.

The Iridium Safety Voice service provides aircraft operators with an alternative to existing HF radio systems, replacing them with a secure satellite-based option for long-range communications.

In August 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) distributed an “Information for Operators” (InFO) notice, alerting aircraft operators of the modifications required to comply with Policy Letter-106 which outlines how aircraft may operate with one HF radio and one satellite communications (SATCOM) platform over the West Atlantic Routeing System (WATRS).

Iridium Safety Voice

The Iridium Safety Voice service features a dialling system requiring multiple user authentication steps for in-flight communications in addition to a call priority system, ensuring urgent communications are not interrupted.

Over the past few years the company has seen substantial adoption of its aviation services with more than a 100 percent increase in active airframes using the Iridium Safety Voice service between 2015 and 2017.

The ability to add a satellite system using the Iridium network as an alternative to a second HF system has several benefits, including lower power requirements, lighter-weight equipment, and better quality and coverage, resulting in increased efficiency and fuel economy.

Brian Pemberton, Vice President and General Manager, Aviation at Iridium, said: “With more than 500 active air transport aircraft around the globe having already adopted the Iridium Safety Voice service, we know that the industry is hungry for this technology.

“With the launch of Iridium NEXT and Certus products, aircraft operators will soon have access to high quality, global and cost-effective satcom solutions, with unparalleled performance, that will positively impact their bottom lines.

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“The Safety Voice service adds elements of safety, security and efficiency that are not available with traditional, high-frequency systems.

“Adding Safety Voice to the existing FANS 1/A data capability enables a full suite of long-range flight deck safety communications for efficient and cost-effective air traffic control. The rapid adoption we’re seeing by the industry is a testament to its value.”

The company is currently launching Iridium NEXT, its next-generation global satellite constellation.

All the company’s existing aviation services, including the Iridium Safety Voice service are compatible with the new constellation.

The first 10 Iridium NEXT satellites were launched into low-Earth-orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on January 14, 2017.

Seven additional SpaceX launches are scheduled to take place over the next 12 to 15 months, delivering a total of 75 NEXT satellites to orbit, including the second launch now targeted for mid-June 2017.

In total, the operational Iridium NEXT constellation will consist of 66 satellites with nine satellites serving as on-orbit spares.

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