Global mobile satellite communications provider, Immarsat, has signed aviation electronics firm Rockwell Collins as a value added reseller for the commercial air transport market.
Under the terms of the agreement, Rockwell Collins will bring Inmarsat's latest generation of services to airline customers.
According to a company statement, GX Aviation is currently scheduled to be globally available for the commercial air transport market by the end of the first half of 2015.
It will provide connectivity speeds of up to 50Mbps virtually everywhere in the world and is set to change the shape of in-flight connectivity.
GX Aviation provides opportunities to bring value added services to the cabin, such as enabling in-flight entertainment to add real-time TV, video-on-demand, and allowing standard email and web browsing at much faster speeds. Rockwell Collins senior vice-president, information management services, Jeff Standerski, said the service brought about new possibilities for its ARINC Cabin Connect.
This included expandable bandwidth that will give passengers the same connectivity experience they have in their home and office, and the capability to accommodate future devices and applications, he said.
"By combining GX with our current L-Band services, we'll also be able to provide our airline customers with a complete portfolio of connectivity options for a full range of applications from the cockpit to the cabin," Staqnerski said. By expanding its offerings for airlines with this high-speed service, Rockwell Collins can bring new capabilities to its existing cabin products, such as PAVESTM On Demand in-flight entertainment and Airshow moving map systems. GX Aviation will be the only global commercial Ka-band network, providing a consistent service across the world, according to a company statement.
It is a key building block in Inmarsat's mission to provide high-speed communications for passengers and to open up new possibilities for operational communications. Immarsat president, aviation, Leo Mondale, said the agreement built on the company's working relationship with Rockwell Collins, in both avionics and services.
"Our Ka-band solution enables us to meet the rapidly growing demand for passenger connectivity," he said.
"Rockwell Collins is a key partner for the full portfolio of existing Inmarsat Aviation services, and will be one of the first to bring the new, exciting GX Aviation service to its large airline customer base. We have built the very best team of aviation companies to ensure airlines have excellent access to GX Aviation." The first of the three initial GX Aviation satellites is already in orbit and began delivering commercial services on 1st July 2014.
Inmarsat currently expects to complete the next two launches in a timeframe to permit the introduction of GX services on a global basis by the end of the first half of 2015.
The airborne hardware, developed by Honeywell Aerospace, is now in the certification phase and is on track to support the launch of GX Aviation in 2015.