New flat-panel antennas to boost in-flight connectivity

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Honeywell Aerospace and satellite connectivity specialist Inmarsat are working on new flat-panel antennas to bring aircraft online using smaller technology.

The companies have teamed up with Kymeta, wich develops flat-panel antenna for satellite communications, to produce high-speed Ka-band wireless kit.

They said the more compact design of the technology would mean more aircraft could use it to bring passengers online. The antenna's form factor is lighter, which the companies claimed would reduce weight and drag on aircraft.

As part of the collaboration, Kymeta will supply Honeywell with its mTenna products, which Honeywell will then test and integrate on its JetWave range of satellite communication products that support Inmarsat's GX Aviation connectivity. 

Leo Mondale, President of Aviation at Inmarsat, said: “The demand for constant high-speed connectivity in the aviation industry in this day and age is non-negotiable. Business jets, commercial airliners and their passengers want access to a quality broadband service at all times. 

“Inmarsat has a proven history of delivering a trusted, reliable service to the cockpit. We’re applying this knowledge to our GX Aviation services, scheduled to be available later this year, giving our customers a high-quality, consistent and reliable broadband service to the cabin as well.

“This will be the first truly flat-panel antenna for aviation that will offer great performance at the right price. The relationship between Honeywell and Kymeta has taken a great technology and turned it into a product ideal for aviation."

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