Thales has become the newest Iridium Certus aviation service provider, giving the French avionics manufacturer the ability to provide both the next generation L-band terminals and services to business jets, commercial aircraft, rotorcraft, general aviation and unmanned aircraft.
Certus is Iridium's multi-service communications platform designed to provide safety services communications, with two voice channels and aircraft communications and reporting system (ACARS) network data link connectivity simultaneously. Thales is already one of several value-added Certus manufacturers, first unveiling its FlytLink satellite connected cockpit technology at the 2016 National Business Aviation Association annual conference and exhibition.
Now, in addition to making the onboard technologies enabled by Certus, Thales will act as a service provider to aviation operators under Iridium's wholesaler satellite network model. Thales has become the eighth company that Iridium has confirmed will provide Certus services to the aviation industry. Other companies on that list include Avitek, Collins Aerospace (ARINC), GoGo, Honeywell Aerospace, Navicom Aviation, Satcom Direct and Skytrac.
"We're excited about our aero solution on Iridium Certus and intend to be first to market," Craig Olson, vice president of connectivity solutions, Thales InFlyt Experience, said in a statement confirming the company's role as a Certus aviation service provider.
Olson did not indicate when the Thales new terminals would become available. Thales was not among the 10 companies listed by Iridium as its first group of beta partners that began testing the Certus 9770 transceiver, which the satellite wholesaler claims will transfer Internet Protocol (IP) data over 35 times faster than its predecessors.
Thales describes its FlytLink technology as being enabled by an embedded Iridium 9523 module, noting that it is also capable of supporting ACARS short burst data. An embedded 802.11n Wi-Fi access point, voice channels and electronic flight bag pairing are among the other connected cockpit applications supported by FlytLink. The different versions of FlytLink antennas can support up to 704 Kbps download and up to 350 Kbps upload speeds.
|Want to hear more on aircraft connectivity applications? Check out the Global Connected Aircraft Podcast, where Avionics editor-in-chief Woodrow Bellamy III interviews airlines on how they're applying connectivity solutions.|
Iridium also sees Certus as an "ideal solution" for Aeronautical Telecommunications Network (ATN) Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) capability deployed in Europe for domestic en-route communications and future Internet Protocol Suite (IPS) concept as well.
"As the aviation industry continues to adopt satcom as a primary means of long-range communications, reliable and cost-effective systems with truly global coverage are becoming an increasing necessity," said Michael Hooper, director and general manager of aviation at Iridium. "The Iridium Certus platform will provide the only solutions that meet the coverage, cost and capability requirements for this new generation of aircraft communications, and we're excited to further expand our close partnership with Thales to bring these capabilities to market."