Cobham is among the in-flight connectivity hardware manufacturers looking to build systems to support Inmarsat's new class of SwiftBroadband service for small-sized regional and business jets and turboprops.
Available in the footprint of all three I-4 satellites, Inmarsat's new so-called SwiftBroadband 200 (SB200) installation will provide standard IP data up to 200kbps, circuit-switched voice telephony, and streaming IP data up to 16kbps.
Hardware manufacturers are gearing up to develop lighter, less expensive systems and antenna to support SB200. One such provider Cobham is projecting SB200 pricing to end users at below $60,000. However, Inmarsat's target "is $25,000 and we are seriously looking at ways to achieve it", Cobham tells ATI and Flightglobal.
"We believe that SB200 will open doors to the Cessna Citation X/XLS, Learjet 40/60s and the Embraer Phenoms in addition to turboprops like the King Air, ATR-42 and Bombardier Dash 8."
Cobham notes that, "at the future projected $25,000 price - assuming we can meet that - the whole Iridium market of $18,000 should be addressable".
The first SB200s based on existing SwiftBroadband systems are expected to be commercially available from manufacturers at the end of 2010, says Inmarsat.
"SB200 will bring the proven benefits of Inmarsat and SwiftBroadband to support IP connectivity in parts of the market that we have not specifically targeted before," says David Coiley, aeronautical business director at Inmarsat.
"SB200 offers a great balance of smaller aircraft equipment and performance in a cost-effective package that will meet the communications needs of very many more aircraft operators."