Astronics Corp. (Nasdaq:ATRO), a provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense, and other mission-critical industries, in East Aurora, New York, is previewing its next-generation satellite communications (SATCOM) connectivity solutions at the Aircraft Interiors Show (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany, this week.
The new SATCOM inflight connectivity antennas – developed by Astronics AeroSat in Manchester, New Hampshire, in conjunction with partner Phasor in Arlington, Virginia – feature electronically steered array (ESA) technology designed to deliver unprecedented connection reliability for aircraft, officials say.
Astronics’ new E-Series ESA SATCOM connectivity antennas are available in three configurations, have an ultra-low profile, and provide Ku- and Ku-HTS connectivity for today’s geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) networks, as well as tomorrow’s medium Earth orbit (MEO) and low Earth orbit (LEO) networks. The system also will offer dual-beam capability, enabling it to support the future “make before break” requirement of non-GEO networks from a single array, or the ability to communicate with two independent GEOs or a LEO and GEO network simultaneously.
“We are creating some very exciting new technology with this product, and we believe the new E-Series will provide seamless connectivity for both new and existing networks while providing a true, solid-state, active array antenna system,” Astronics AeroSat President Matthew Harrah explains. “This provides cost and reliability advantages for airlines, business and military aviation, satellite network operators, and most importantly, the passenger and their inflight connectivity experience.”
Astronics and Phasor “are providing the aviation industry with the best of both worlds – leading electronically steered antenna innovation coupled with best-in-class avionics and aeronautical SATCOM terminal integration expertise,” Phasor CEO David Helfgott adds. “We plan to deliver next-generation inflight connectivity across multiple airframe-types and satellite communications networks.”
Astronics’ E-Series antennas will feature Phasor’s active electronically steered array; enable simultaneous transmit and receive from a single antenna array, with no need for bulky extra panels that drive up costly size and weight; and offer a flexible, modular architecture to serve a wide variety of aircraft types and applications.
E-1000 model will serve existing GEO constellations and is ready for LEO and MEO satellites for twin- and single-aisle commercial aircraft. The E-600 model is a mid-size solution intended to serve the same networks but targeted for single-aisle and business aviation aircraft. The E-200 model is a small-size version, which is a future-concept antenna for LEO-only satellite networks that is ideal for turboprops up through twin-aisle commercial aircraft based on connectivity needs. The modular nature of Phasor’s proprietary technology allows for additional installation options; custom systems can be configured based on the application and customer requirements, to include conformal “flush” mounting integrated into the fuselage.
Additional features of these antennas include:
- Suitability for both civilian and military aircraft
- Hybrid network and satellite constellation support for future mixed (LEO/MEO/GEO) satellite networks
- Extremely low profile, less than four inches in height, reducing drag
- Ability to conform to the aircraft fuselage to optimize aerodynamics and high latitude operational performance
- 100 percent solid-state ESA, with no moving parts, to improve mechanical reliability
- ARINC 791/792 mounting compliance
Astronics is displaying the prototypes of these new inflight connectivity antenna systems at AIX in Stand 3B30 to generate customer and industry feedback. Technology demonstrations of the inflight performance will occur in early 2020, with STC/PMA authorizations expected by 2021.
Astronics AeroSat, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astronics Corp., keeps people connected no matter where they fly. For millions of flight hours, Astronics AeroSat has provided fuselage- and tail-mounted SATCOM connectivity solutions for general aviation, business aviation, commercial transport, VVIP, and military aircraft around the world.
Astronics Corp. (Nasdaq:ATRO) serves the world’s aerospace, defense, and other mission-critical industries with proven, innovative technology solutions. Astronics works side-by-side with customers, integrating its array of power, connectivity, lighting, structures, interiors, and test technologies to solve complex challenges. For 50 years, Astronics has delivered creative, customer-focused solutions with exceptional responsiveness. Today, global airframe manufacturers, airlines, military branches, completion centers and Fortune 500 manufacturing organizations rely on the collaborative spirit and innovation of Astronics.
Phasor Inc. is a developer of high-throughput, enterprise-grade, modular, phased array antennas, headquartered in Washington, with a technology development subsidiary in London. Phasor’s electronically steerable antennas (ESAs) are based on patented innovations in dynamic beam forming technologies and system architecture. Phasor’s mission is to enable high-speed broadband communications while in-flight, at sea or traveling over land.
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