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Inmarsat partners with Honeywell to deliver Global Xpress

Honeywell has signed a deal worth an estimated $2.8 billion over 20 years to supply onboard hardware for the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) in-flight connectivity network.

The agreement with Honeywell comes less than a month after Inmarsat and previous supplier Rockwell Collins revealed that they had halted contract negotiations.

Honeywell will supply the antennas and satellite terminals that will connect the future Inmarsat satellite constellations with its chosen service providers - GoGo and OnAir.

The Ka-band network is designed to offer wideband connectivity speeds onboard aircraft, Honeywell says. The Inmartsat system is the first in-flight connectivity network designed to provide complete global coverage.

Other systems are regionally-based or are based on a patchwork of satellite connectivity suppliers, Honeywell says. Inmarsat is launching three satellites into orbit in 2013, with the Global Xpress network becoming operational the following year.

Honeywell and Inmarsat intend to market the new GX network to the business aviation community and military aircraft - particularly, unmanned air vehicles. Although the military already operates dedicated wideband satellite systems, GX could be used to supplement those networks as demand continues to outpace supply.

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