Inmarsat and Kymeta are showing a new design of electronically scanned antenna that will allow much larger quantities of information to be pushed down from satellites to aircraft.

The new antenna is around two years away from production and will be used by Inmarsat's GX Aviation network of satellites. The first two Inmarsat I5 satellites for GX Aviation have already been launched, with the third completing the constellation in the next couple of months. A fourth, to provide extra capacity, will be sent aloft next year.

"It will open up the markets in terms of data that can be pushed down to the aircraft," says Ben Griffin, Inmarsat's director of aviation for the Middle East, Africa and India. "Not only will it provide IFE services and connectivity, it will improve the operational efficiency of the aircraft. There's so much data coming off aircraft these days."

With no moving parts, the new thin-film transistor antenna will be inherently more reliable than its mechanically scanned predecessors, adds Kenny Kirchoff, Kymeta's principal aero engineer. Integration work will be performed by Honeywell.

Source: Flight Daily News