With the development of the SD Plane Simple™ antenna portfolio, Satcom Direct (SD) is liberating the business aviation data management and connectivity experience. The Plane Simple antenna series has been driven by the company’s mission to make secure, flexible, reliable solutions available to a broader segment of the business and government aviation communities than ever before. When complete, the new antenna series will support operations in Ku-, Ka- and L-band frequencies enabling a wider number of aircraft from light to large jets to optimize their connectivity, operations and data management.
An antenna for every requirement
In February this year, SD announced the development of a new dual variant tail-mounted antenna system for operation in Ku- or Ka-band frequencies. With only two line-replaceable units (LRUs), and a network-agnostic design, the common form factor and wiring simplify installation, enabling owners and operators to equip aircraft with a connectivity system compatible with future technological developments.
The Ku-band variant supporting the FlexExec service is expected to be available for STC in early 2021, followed by the Ka-band version later in the year, which will support Inmarsat JetConneX connectivity.
The development of a lightweight, low profile, flat-panel modular antenna to deliver high-speed connectivity via upcoming LEO constellations, is also in process and scheduled to come to market in late 2022. All three antennas are being developed in partnership with Germany-based QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a worldwide market leader in innovative aeronautical antennas.
And lastly, SD is developing the Plane Simple Certus terminal, to enhance and provide access to consistent connectivity through the global Iridium NEXT constellation. This builds on an existing agreement which sees COMSAT, an SD company, as the exclusive Iridium Certus service provider for the US Department of Defense (DoD).
Expanding into hardware
The expansion into the antenna hardware sector completes the SD connectivity puzzle by joining the dots of the SD ecosystem. During the past two decades, the business has continued to reinvest in its technology and has transformed from providing purely communications services into a holistic business aviation solutions provider.
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In fact, the strategy has repositioned the company on the business aviation landscape through the creation of Software as a Service (SaaS) with SD. Pro®, the integrated data management operating system, as well as SD. Hardware (the SD Router family), ground infrastructure (the SD Data Centre) and teleport services (COMSAT). The final piece of the puzzle, the addition of the Plane Simple portfolio, enables management of the complete business aviation data lifecycle.
“Plane Simple solidifies our strategy,” says Chris Moore, President SD Business Aviation, “We are now in the position where we can maximize the connectivity experience for our customers, while also creating data management standards which will take the industry forward. We want our customers to have the best user experience.
“We already provide the software and hardware in the cabin and flight deck, access to the best ground infrastructure to support connectivity, deliver private networks and data protection services along with award-winning customer support. With the antennas, we become the only connectivity company that provides a single-source solution, built from the ground up for business aviation customers. We are really excited about the opportunities this brings.”
If this isn’t a powerful enough proposition in its own right, the SD portfolio of antennas is scalable and agnostic.
“The Plane Simple approach ensures operators don’t have to spend a fortune each time the aircraft mission changes. We want to help owners protect the asset value by delivering solutions that meet the aircraft’s needs now and in the future. By enabling increased visibility into the aircraft operations, budgets can be better managed, and efficiencies improved. This is no longer the domain of the mid to large jet sectors, as we are developing solutions that will be compatible with light jets too, bringing these clear advantages to this size of aircraft for the first time,” Moore adds.
It’s plane simple
SD is known for its outstanding customer support. It is a central focus in product development and another motivator behind the Plane Simple concept. Currently, customers may have to contact two or three companies to integrate or troubleshoot connectivity equipment and services. Through the management of the complete connectivity ecosystem, SD can rapidly predict and respond to issues before or as they occur. This improves operational efficiencies to deliver an enhanced connectivity experience from the aircraft nose to the tip of its tail.
The complete SD ecosystem gives business aviation owners and operators the ability to select the connectivity system that best meets their mission requirements now and in the future. With the agnostic design, it will also position aircraft ahead of technological changes in the satellite sector, ensuring that asset values are maintained, and data management remains optimized as the sector evolves. It really is Plane Simple.
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