Israeli start-up Starling Advanced Communications is planning to exploit the military satellite communications and antenna expertise of parent companies Elbit Systems and Rafael to provide broadband passenger communication and entertainment services.

The Elbit-Rafael joint venture company is aiming to provide low-cost broadband communication services to airline passengers through its GliderNet system. Using technology adapted from the military market, GliderNet comprises a solid-state, electronically-steered antenna and a communication control algorithm, which will provide data rates up to 8mbit/s, says Starling managing director Micha Lawrence. The control algorithm and modem are designed to optimally allocate the satellite resource, which means that fewer satellite transponders are required to provide services, he says.

Starling plans to have a prototype system completed in the third quarter of next year and production systems at the end of 2003, says Lawrence.

The company is talking to potential service provider and satellite partners.

Source: Flight International