Last week, Honeywell announced one of the most important program wins in our aerospace communications history. We have secured the exclusive rights to develop and manufacture Ka band satellite communications terminals that will enable users to connect to Inmarsat’s GX Aviation network. Honeywell’s antenna system and service will change the global aerospace communications industry enabling higher-bandwidth airborne connectivity for the commercial air transport and business and general aviation markets.
So, why is Ka band such a big deal? To put it in simple terms it should enable 10 times the data at a fraction of the cost of current alternatives - operating at a much higher frequency spectrum than L or Ku band where most of the satcom systems of today operate. Customers will benefit from a whole range of cabin and cockpit solutions that up until now had been out of range because communications links were either too expensive or too slow. The service will particularly benefit international air transport passengers enabling reliable in-flight connectivity for their iPads, smart phones and tablet devices, similar to what some North American airlines have started to offer on domestic routes.
Several Honeywell sites will provide technological expertise for our Ka band program. Antennas will be developed in Norcross, GA and Ottawa, Canada; Avionics in Ottawa and Tewkesbury, UK – legacy EMS Technologies sites. The win reflects the first fruits of the EMS acquisition and leverages the technology strengths of EMS with the market reach, service and support of Honeywell.
Look for further updates on this program in the coming months as we work to define our offering, including a variant of the system for the Defense & Space market sector.