Inmarsat, the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications, announced today that its SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) service has been selected by Airbus as a cockpit communications solution for the A320 and A330 aircraft families.
In a landmark agreement, SB-S will feature in the popular Airbus A320 single-aisle and A330 wide-body families. The advanced IP-based broadband communications platform will be available with equipment from Cobham’s AVIATOR S series, as selected by Airbus, to deliver next generation services for the global aviation industry.
SB-S will mark a paradigm shift in aviation safety and efficiency. Using Inmarsat’s global L-band satellite network, it delivers much faster data and voice communications due to its unprecedented speed and capacity, which are several orders of magnitude greater than cockpit communications systems in the market today.
These advanced capabilities will transform the quality and security of cockpit communication and information shared between pilots, air traffic controllers and airlines, with Inmarsat’s satellite technology also ensuring consistent, high-speed global coverage for SB-S.
Airlines around the world will also benefit from a myriad of new digital applications never before available, including continual positional awareness for flight tracking, flight data streaming (also known as ‘Black Box in the Cloud’), and electronic flight bag applications for pilots, such as graphical weather for improved situational awareness.
The selection of SB-S by Airbus reinforces Inmarsat’s status as the world’s leading provider of satellite safety services, serving around 95% of the world’s long-haul aircraft.
The inclusion of the A320 family will also position SB-S as an advanced Light Cockpit Satcom solution on single-aisle Airbus aircraft, marking an exciting new era for the aviation industry. The selection was possible as SB-S is delivered via advanced airborne equipment that addresses factors which have traditionally impacted demand in the single-aisle market, such as size, weight and cost. Around eight out of ten commercial aircraft in the world are single-aisle.
Captain Mary McMillan, Inmarsat Aviation’s Vice President, Safety and Operational Services, said: “We are delighted that Airbus has selected SwiftBroadband-Safety for its A320 and A330 aircraft families. This is testament to SwiftBroadband-Safety’s ability to deliver an always on, always secure cockpit solution for the digital age, with expanded connectivity and reliability.
“Inmarsat has been delivering critical safety information to the world’s airlines, private jet operators and government agencies for over two-and-a-half decades. In the past, these services were almost exclusively utilised by airlines travelling in areas not served by traditional radar, such as routes over the ocean or remote locations. However, with growing aircraft congestion and the need for increased data security, Inmarsat is engineering a new generation of satellite communication services to provide a wider range of benefits.
“SwiftBroadband-Safety will introduce unprecedented new capabilities, allowing airlines to significantly improve flight safety operations and provide a more efficient service to passengers. Airlines also benefit from continuous monitoring of aircraft performance and fuel usage.”
Inmarsat’s partner Cobham SATCOM has been selected by Airbus to provide the equipment that delivers SB-S service onboard the A320 and A330 aircraft families. The equipment, known as the AVIATOR 200S and 700S, will provide a seamless connection between the aircraft cockpit and Inmarsat’s extensive global satellite network. Under Cobham’s contract with Airbus, the equipment will be fitted onto the aircraft from 2018.
Kim Gram, Vice President of Aero Satcom at Cobham Satcom, said: “Inmarsat has made an immense contribution in the forward progression of our industry, from the development of the original idea of smaller and lighter satcom hardware, continuing its influential work in industry standardization groups, to the ultimate deployment of services on its global satellite network.”