Inmarsat has announced that Avionica, part of GE Aviation, will develop a new cost-effective, lightweight terminal for Inmarsat’s SB-S aircraft operations and safety platform.
The new terminal will be available next year and has been designed for the retrofit market, providing an affordable option for airlines seeking to equip their existing aircraft fleets with IP connectivity to unlock new efficiencies for operations and safety.
Inmarsat’s SB-S platform is the world’s first and only global broadband solution for aircraft operational and safety communications, driving digital transformation in the airline industry.
Combining cutting-edge satellite technology with secure IP connectivity, it provides airlines with capabilities and benefits no other satellite communications provider can deliver.
Operational advantages include enhanced aircraft fleet and crew management, predictive maintenance, disruption management and aircraft health monitoring via Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications, which can significantly reduce flight delays and fuel consumption.
Safety benefits include improved communications with ATC, digital data and voice communications, and flight data recorder streaming (also known as Black Box in the Cloud).
Flight plans and arrivals can also be optimised by pinpointing aircraft in four dimensions, known as four-dimensional (4D) operations, which include latitude, longitude, altitude and time.
Avionica’s wireless data collection and transmission technology enables advanced data analytics by accessing important flight information, such as engine and aircraft health data, wherever the aircraft is operating around the world.
John Broughton, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Aircraft Operations and Safety, said: “SB-S is a key component in the global aviation industry’s move towards digital aircraft operations and safety, which will help to reduce fuel savings and environmental impact, cut flight delays and turnaround times, and revolutionise air traffic management.
“We are delighted to expand our hardware portfolio for SB-S through this new partnership with Avionica, providing customers with a cost-effective and lightweight terminal for their aircraft fleets.
“This is another important step forward for SB-S and comes soon after it received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), validating the technology’s potential to maximise airline operational efficiency and safety for many years to come.”
Sean Reilly, Avionica Vice President of Business Development, said: “We are excited for the opportunity to bring Inmarsat’s next-generation IP satcom technology to aircraft that traditionally did not have broadband service because the terminals were too large or expensive.
“With Avionica’s suite of data-gathering capabilities and GE Aviation’s variety of applications such as FlightPulse and Connected Flight Management System, we can enhance the pilot’s user experience and get data off the aircraft for enhanced diagnostic operational efficiency.”
The SB-S digital aircraft operations platform is powered by Inmarsat’s advanced global L-band satellite network, which has underpinned safety services for 40 years.
Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two additional L-band payloads in 2020 and 2021, further cementing its long-term commitment to offering highly reliable services over this spectrum.