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Fast, faster, fastest

Honeywell has just achieved final certification from Inmarsat for JetWave, its satcom hardware to support the GX Aviation high speed broadband service

Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network entered commercial service in December 2015 but the Honeywell certification means that the launch of GX Aviation is now imminent. Using Ka-band, this will bring similar fast and reliable broadband speeds to airline passengers as they receive on the ground, up to 50 Mbps. With a growing satellite network (three in orbit and a fourth completing construction and testing by Boeing), coverage will be worldwide, including at northern and southern latitudes above 40 degrees, where current systems can suffer substantial performance deterioration and even service outages. The current satellites cover Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia; the Americas, the Atlantic Ocean region and the Pacific Ocean region.


One unique feature of JetWave is the use of dual receivers, which enable one receiver to acquire the next satellite in the network before the other drops out of contact with the current satellite in use. Other systems without this feature have built-in outages every time a terminal needs to be handed off between satellites, adding significant service interruption and downtime for users.


Having received FAA approval for the Boeing 757 in early 2016, Honeywell started a global test programme with its test aircraft. This has now completed more than 400 flight tests in over 15 countries, spending in excess of 1,700 hours in the air. In total the company is looking to certify the system on 26 different aircraft models and types across commercial, business aviation and government markets.


Airline operators have committed to installing the JetWave system on more than 300 passenger aircraft, with more to come.


Singapore Airlines will begin installation before the end of the year on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, followed by its A380-800s. This is in partnership with Zodiac Inflight Innovations, an Inmarsat and Honeywell partner.


Lufthansa has selected the system for its Airbus A320 Family fleet, with the first installation having been carried out by Lufthansa Technik on an A319 in June. Initial service is expected from October, with the entire fleet expected to have the technology installed by mid-2018. The work can be completed in up to four days or during regular maintenance layovers.


Lufthansa Technik has also established a long-term partnership with Inmarsat and Lufthansa Systems to offer the service to the market, including VIP aircraft. 


It has already equipped an Airbus A340 VIP aircraft and expects EASA STC for Boeing 737 BIB and Airbus A330 before the end of the year. In addition, Bombardier has Transport Canada certification for JetWave to be installed on Global 5000 and Global 6000 business aircraft and HIATIC Aircraft Maintenance has signed an agreement to jointly develop an A319 Supplemental Type Certificate for the corporate jet market.


Other commercial customers include Air Carïbes, Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines, (all for A350 and all with IFE from Thales, another Inmarsat and Honeywell partner), while Jazeera Airways will equip its Airbus A320 fleet and Air China will test it on A330 aircraft.


The system’s multi-channel satellite (MCS) terminals share the same antenna controller, modem and router hardware, with a tail-mounted antenna. The MCS-8200 is available for the airline market while the MCS-8000 is available for business aviation.

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