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Inmarsat and SD progress advanced Jet Connex terminal
Inmarsat and SD's advanced new terminal for inflight broadband has entered the development phase. The tail-mounted terminal has communicated over the air with a satellite, bringing it closer to commercial service.
Plane Simple Ka-band antenna.

An advanced new terminal for Inmarsat's business aviation inflight broadband solution Jet ConneX, developed by Satcom Direct (SD), has moved a step closer to commercial service after successfully communicating over the air with an Inmarsat satellite. A complete prototype unit of the ground-breaking Plane Simple Ka-band antenna system is scheduled for completion later this year, followed by design verification, testing, certification and its commercial service introduction in 2023.

Designed specifically to meet current and long-term connectivity needs in the business aviation market, the new Plane Simple Ka-band antenna system optimises inflight wi-fi, particularly for super-mid to large size jets, using Inmarsat's current and upcoming Ka-band satellites. It offers a unique alternative to existing terminals used on private jets, with key features including a modern lightweight design with only two line-replaceable units and simplified wiring to enable quicker and easier installation and maintenance.

The tail-mounted terminal will utilise the vast combined experience and expertise of Inmarsat and SD, who worked closely throughout the development process, from designing the concept to producing a simple, cost-effective and future proof solution.

Inmarsat head of business aviation Kai Tang says: “Since its commercial launch five years ago, Inmarsat's Jet ConneX has established itself as business aviation's gold standard inflight connectivity service. Satcom Direct has played a key role in that journey and through the development of this advanced new terminal, we are building on our partnership to ensure customers can utilise the world-class infrastructure we have in place today and the game-changing new capabilities we will introduce in the coming years. This includes the launch of six further satellites, consisting of four in geostationary orbit adding speed, capacity and resilience, and two in highly elliptical orbit, enabling the world's only commercial mobile broadband service for aircraft flying in higher elevations and across the Arctic.”

Satcom Direct founder and CEO Jim Jensen adds: “Moving to the next phase of development with our new Plane Simple Ka-band antenna system for Inmarsat's Jet ConneX and being one step closer to securing type approval for use on the Inmarsat satellite network is a huge step forward for our business and for business aviation. Building on our years of experience in hardware, software, infrastructure and data synchronisation, we are committed to delivering the market's best-in-class aviation connectivity experiences. Customers will also benefit from direct support and troubleshooting from a dedicated team at SD without the need to deal with multiple companies, helping to improve their overall experience.”

The development milestone was unveiled as the companies celebrate the 25th anniversary of their partnership. A recent survey commissioned by Inmarsat and Corporate Jet Investor found that almost 80 per cent of respondents around the world believe more frequent business aviation flights will be taken in the next year, and 90 per cent also feel online activities will dominate principals' time in the air, almost evenly split between business and leisure.

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