Inmarsat Names Third Supplier For Bizav Satcom

Orbit Communications Systems
Orbit Ka-band antenna.
Credit: Orbit Communications Systems

Inmarsat has named a third equipment supplier for its Jet ConneX inflight broadband service for business aviation.

Israel-based Orbit Communication Systems is developing a compact, tail-mount terminal to access Inmarsat’s high-speed Ka-band satellite communications (satcom) service, the companies announced on March 22. The Orbit shipset, which is progressing toward type approval, joins Jet Connex systems offered by Honeywell and Satcom Direct.

Jet Connex already has 1,100 business aviation customers, according to Inmarsat, which is expanding the capacity and coverage of its Ka-band satellite network. “Inmarsat has a successful track record of working with Orbit in the government market,” said Kai Tang, Inmarsat head of business aviation. “We are delighted to build on this strong foundation and expand our partnership into business aviation.” 

Orbit’s AirTRX30 satcom terminal consists of two line-replaceable units—a modem manager and tail-mount antenna—designed for installation on super-midsize to large-cabin business jets. The company expects to begin shipping DO-160G avionics hardware-qualified terminals in the first quarter of 2023.

Honeywell already supplies the JetWave tail-mount system for business aviation. Melbourne, Florida-based Satcom Direct is developing the Plane Simple Ka-band tail-mount system for business aviation, which is also slated to enter service in 2023.

The AirTRX30 builds on patented Orbit aperture designs that are used by Inmarsat’s government customers and will be compatible with future Ka-band satellites that are scheduled for launch over the next few years as part of Inmarsat’s technology roadmap. AirTRx30 systems will be manufactured at Orbit’s U.S. facility in Deerfield Beach, Florida. 

“We are very pleased to strengthen our partnership with Inmarsat and provide its Jet ConneX customers with a future-proof solution that can be used throughout the life of their aircraft,” said Tuomo Rutanen, Orbit Communications Systems vice president for sales and business development. “The open architecture and interfaces of our AirTRx30 terminal allow easy integration, ensuring flexibility and adaptability to passenger needs, which we know is more important than ever.”

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.