Keeping it ‘Plane Simple’ – Satcom Direct reveals new Ka/Ku band antennas

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Connectivity specialist Satcom Direct has announced the launch of a new portfolio of tail mounted antennas. The products, dubbed Plane Simple, make Satcom Direct a one-stop provider of connectivity solutions for business jets and government aviation around the world.

Satcom Direct Plane Simple
Satcom Direct’s new Plane Simple antennas expands the company’s portfolio to a wider range of customers. Photo: SD

Launched in mid-February, the tail mounted antenna system is suitable for midsized or larger business jets. It’s a major expansion in SD’s portfolio, and positions the company as a complete end to end solution provider for its target markets.

The Plane Simple antennas

Satcom Direct’s new tail mounted antenna system is available in two key flavors. Customers can select the Ku-band frequency, which the company says will be available in early 2021, or they can pick the Ka-band version which will be ready later in the year.

The design of the antennas is network agnostic, and uses common form factor and wiring to make installation quick and simple. The solution ensures that aircraft operators will be investing in a connectivity system that is ready for now, and for the future.

Jim Jensen, SD Founder and CEO commented on the announcement, saying,

“Until now customers may have had to contact two or three companies to integrate or troubleshoot the equipment and services needed for consistent connectivity. Now with the Plane Simple antennas added to the SD portfolio, we can rapidly predict and respond to issues before or as they occur.”

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The company states that it has already established partnership support, both with Inmarsat for its Jet ConneX and with Intelsat for FlexExec connectivity.

Partnering with QEST

Satcom Direct states that its investment in antenna development is designed to ensure reliable, secure and flexible inflight connectivity solutions are available to the widest audience possible. These tail mounted antennas are designed to be suitable for super-midsize business jets up to the largest models, and have been developed in partnership with German firm QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH.

Satcom direct SD plane simple
Satcom Direct’s SD Plane Simple antenna. Image: SD

QEST is well known as a leader in aeronautical antennas, and has previously proven its innovative approach to such projects, in partnership with SD. The two companies worked together to develop the lightweight, low profile electronically steered antenna (ESA), which uses a phased array and is fuselage-mounted for high-speed LEO satellite connectivity. That particular antenna is slated to be on the market by 2022.

In addition to the new SD Plane Simple antenna range, the company is also developing the Plane Simple Certus terminal, which it says will “enhance operational safety and provide access to consistent connectivity through the global Iridium NEXT constellation.” It’s a step forward from the exiting COMSAT partnership for Iridium Certus provision, which is used by the US Department of Defense.

Jensen further added,

“We are committed to delivering the best-in-class aircraft connectivity experiences, which augment operational efficiencies through the SD ecosystem of hardware, software, infrastructure, and data synchronization, all of which is supported by an award-winning customer care team. For the first time, operators will be able to choose the connectivity system that best meets their mission requirements and also positions their aircraft ahead of technological changes in the satellite sector.”

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