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FlightSafety International
FlightSafety International
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Three-way partnership progresses connectivity development
A new collaboration will progress development of an Electronic Phased Array antenna for smaller aircraft. Work on the flat-panel antenna has already begun and availability is estimated for 2024.
Satcom Direct, OneWeb and QEST ratify development of electronic phased array antenna.

Satcom Direct has set up a three-way partnership agreement with global communications company OneWeb and aeronautical antennas company QEST, Quantenelektronische Systeme that will progress development of an electronic phased array antenna to support OneWeb's advancing mobility services. The agreement also covers a long term distribution partner agreement where SD will market and sell OneWeb's high-speed, low latency inflight broadband services. Development has already begun on the flat-panel antenna with initial demonstrator technology scheduled to validate over-the-air performance, in small form factor across the OneWeb satellite constellation in Q4 2022.

Designed for smaller aircraft, the lightweight, low profile, modular antenna will deliver high-speed, broadband connectivity to this aircraft category for the first time. Together SD, OneWeb and QEST will enable passengers and operators to be more productive and enjoy more leisure time during flight via global broadband connectivity. Market introduction of the flat panel, fuselage mounted, electronic phased array antenna is anticipated for availability in 2024, with OneWeb aviation services set to launch in 2023.

OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson says: “We pride ourselves on partnering with industry leaders and specialists to ensure we can bring connectivity to the right audiences as effectively as possible. We are delighted to partner with Satcom Direct and QEST because together we look forward to transforming the connectivity landscape for our customers. SD brings a stellar reputation as a distribution partner for OneWeb, with its maturity in the market and solid heritage around the world. SD supports the largest number of business aviation platforms globally and regularly ranks top in customer service industry surveys. This makes it an obvious partner for OneWeb as we set out to deliver robust, high-speed, low latency reliable and global connectivity for all aircraft.”

“Connectivity supports much more than just communications, and we are investing in antenna development through our Plane Simple programme to deliver secure, flexible, reliable solutions to a wider segment of the business and government aviation communities than ever before," says SD CEO Jim Jensen. "This is a truly ground-breaking collaboration, which is setting out to bring OneWeb's powerful connectivity to a much-underserved sector of our business aviation community. We are proud to be part of such an innovative and dynamic group of companies that will change the way in which small jets and general aviation operators connect with the world.”

Through the SD ecosystem of hardware, software and infrastructure owners will be supported by a single resource for connectivity acquisition and support, as well as third party software integration capabilities via the SD Pro operating system to enhance flight operations and safety.

“Having worked closely with SD to develop the first of the Plane Simple antennas we recognise that there is a large sector of the market that still needs powerful connectivity that guarantees excellent performance and optimal use of the satellite services,” says QEST CEO Dr Jörg Oppenländer. "The impressive SD global customer service offering, combined with the strength of the OneWeb constellation and our experience of developing reliable, highly advanced, antenna systems, will provide customers with ultimate connectivity efficiencies.”

QEST is already partnering with SD in developing the Plane Simple tail-mount antenna series and was integral in delivering the first Plane Simple variant on schedule. The electronic phased array antenna represents the third antenna in the SD Plane Simple antenna series.

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