Iridium Communications is introducing its Iridium Certus aviation commercial satcom service, providing a secure cockpit domain with reliable voice and data capabilities. This milestone achievement marks the availability and certification of Iridium Connected aviation solutions for commercial transport aircraft, business jets, helicopters, private aircraft and uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) that offer more compact, cost-effective equipment with superior coverage compared to alternative systems.
Using L-band satellite frequencies that are superior for cockpit communications, Iridium Certus for aviation is an ideal complement to commercial transport passenger cabin connectivity Ka/Ku band services and can be a primary service for small-to-mid-size business jet cabins. It would also be preferred to HF/VHF for electronic flight bag (EFB), flight critical data and passenger communications during oceanic flights.
Iridium's partners are introducing a range of multi-tier Iridium Certus solutions that complement other in-flight connectivity (IFC) systems installed on aircraft. Multiple Iridium value added manufacturers (VAMs) and value added resellers (VARs) are providing a spectrum of Iridium Certus 100 and Iridium Certus 700 solutions. Safety certifications are currently in progress, with flight trials expected to begin by the end of 2023 and approvals expected in 2024, making it a valuable short-term and long-term investment for aircraft operators.
“The aviation industry is forecasting a period of unprecedented growth, where reliable connectivity has become crucial for both passenger and cockpit communications,” says Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. “Iridium Certus perfectly fits these applications due to the combination of its size, weight and power (SWaP) as well as the outstanding reliability of our global network. With our upgraded constellation, we have significantly improved and expanded our offerings, delivering air traffic control services, weather and critical information to cockpits worldwide more affordably than ever before.”
With its unique satellite network in low earth orbit (LEO), Iridium offers weather-resilient L-band connectivity and unparalleled global coverage versus geostationary (GEO) systems. The flexibility of Iridium Certus service to scale device SWaP requirements both up and down allows users to cater to various mission needs, offering different price points and versatility for diverse aircraft types and operational requirements. Iridium Certus also makes it affordable for aircraft operators to obtain real-time data from the cockpit, enabling better decision-making and improved operational efficiency.
“Iridium's first-generation voice and data solutions are installed on over 60,000 aircraft today and have been critical for flight safety and relied upon by pilots and airlines for years,” adds John Peterson, executive director of aviation, Iridium. “As the preferred solution for a wide range of aviation applications, from drones to airliners, Iridium Certus is ready to support the industry's evolving connectivity needs.”
The success of Iridium Certus technology in maritime and land applications has paved the way for its entry into the aviation realm. With thousands of subscribers currently utilising the Iridium Certus service, its deployment has been extensive and highly regarded. The aviation industry now benefits from the robust suite of solutions provided by Iridium Certus, supporting uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV)/urban air mobility (UAM) and business jet cabin connectivity, and paving the way for future flight deck applications. Iridium and its ecosystem of partners are continually developing new offerings, with additional announcements and terminal launches planned for later this year.