Inmarsats digital communications and data platform SB-S has been approved for use by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The FAA has also validated the capability of Inmarsat SB-S to support air traffic services by providing direct datalink communication between pilots and Air Traffic Control (ATC).
The letter of approval states that SB-S technology provides diversity and potential for advances of capability that will further maximise operational benefits and ensure safety. The endorsement follows a recommendation last year from the FAAs Performance Based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC).
Commenting on the FAA approval for the broadband solution, Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: Inmarsat has a rich history of providing cutting-edge, transformative services for the global aviation industry. We are proud to continue that tradition with SB-S, the worlds first solution for digital aircraft operations and safety. Inmarsat is the only satellite communications provider that can deliver these benefits to airlines. Receiving the FAAs final approval is a milestone of huge significance, reinforcing Inmarsats global market leadership and validating the potential of SB-S to maximise airline operational efficiency and safety for many years to come.
The FAA approval follows a live evaluation of SB-S by Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines, which took place between June 2015 and July 2018 on approximately 25,000 flights and seven aircraft types. Inmarsat partners in the evaluation included Cobham Aerospace Communications, Collins Aerospace, SITAONAIR, ASG and L2.
Chinas Shenzhen Airlines also employing SB-S and Inmarsats digital airline operations platform has been selected by Airbus as a Light Cockpit Satcom (LCS) line fit solution on its A320 and A330 families.
Combining satellite technology with secure IP connectivity, SB-S provides airlines with broadband solution for aircraft operational and safety communications.
SB-Ss real-time IP connectivity delivers several benefits to airlines. Operational advantages include fleet and crew management, predictive maintenance, disruption management and aircraft health monitoring via Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications, which can reduce flight delays and fuel consumption. Safety benefits include improved communications with ATC, digital data and voice communications, and flight data recorder streaming (also known as Black Box in the CloudTM). Flight plans and arrivals can also be optimised by pinpointing aircraft in four dimensions, known as four-dimensional (4D) operations, which include latitude, longitude, altitude and time.
The IP solution provided by Inmarsats SB-S enables control of air traffic modernisation programmes, such as the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) masterplan and NextGen in the U.S. In addition, Inmarsats SB-S powers Iris, a project by Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA) that uses satellite-based datalink communication to oversee air traffic management over European airspace.
The SB-S digital aircraft operations platform is powered by Inmarsats L-band satellite network. Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two additional L-band payloads in 2020 and 2021.