AIX: Viasat introduces Ku/Ka antenna for commercial aircraft

Viasat's Ku/Ka array.
Viasat’s Ku/Ka array.

Viasat announced today the introduction of its second-generation Ku-/Ka-band shipset, inclusive of an advanced hybrid antenna and complementary radome.

The latest dual-band system, aimed at the commercial wide-body aircraft market, will keep passengers and crew connected across commercial Ku- and Ka-band geosynchronous and non-geosynchronous satellite networks, virtually anywhere they fly around the globe.

The shipset sets into motion an accelerated migration path for commercial airlines to operate on Viasat’s global network.

It immediately enables worldwide roaming connectivity for new or retrofit aircraft – serving a large and growing portion of their routes on the fastest Ka-band networks, and the balance on global wide-beam or spot-beam Ku satellites.

Viasat says airlines can steadily migrate a greater proportion of their routes to the faster, more economical Ka-band service enabled by a growing array of partner satellites as well as the upcoming global ViaSat-3 constellation.

The first Viasat-3 satellite for the Americas is set to be launched in 2020/21. The second, for the EMEA area, will launch six months later. The final Viasat-3 launch, which will cover Asia Pacific, will take place in 2022.

Viasat says it has years of expertise in delivering dual-band antenna systems to the global market. The company’s first-generation shipset served airframes ranging from commercial narrow-body planes to larger senior leader government aircraft.

Don Buchman, Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat.
Don Buchman, Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat.

“Hybrid antenna systems are not new to Viasat—we have nearly two decades of experience deploying and managing these systems,” said Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat.

“Similar to the first generation, Viasat’s latest dual-band system promotes smooth transitions among multiple satellite beams across Ku- and Ka-band networks.

“Our next-generation Ku-/Ka-band terminal is the most capable and flexible solution for commercial wide-body aircraft — giving them a global solution today — with piece of mind that the technology deployed will be forward-compatible with the innovations in spacecraft technology of tomorrow.”

The key benefit of the Ku-/Ka array is that it leverages today’s Ku- and Ka-band networks, but enables airlines to easily transition to the faster, more reliable, more economical Ka-band networks of tomorrow.

In-flight, customers will have access to all the Ka-band satellites currently participating in Viasat’s global network (WildBue-1, Anik-F2, ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and KA-SAT, as well as nbn’s SkyMuster I and II and other current and future partner satellites).

When out of Ka-band coverage, service will switch to the Ku-band network.

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