|Thales will develop the ground component for the European Aviation Network. Photo: Thales
[Avionics Today 02-26-2016] Satellite communications provider Inmarsat has selected Thales to develop and manufacture a Complementary Ground Component (CGC) terminal for its European Aviation Network (EAN) high-speed In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) solution. Inmarsat unveiled EAN last year as the first aviation passenger connectivity solution across European airspace to integrate an advanced satellite network and an LTE-based ground network operated by Deutsche Telekom.
Aircraft will switch automatically between satellite and terrestrial connectivity using an onboard network communicator for optimal service delivery. As a result, airlines will be able to offer reliable, high-speed onboard Internet access to passengers across Europe’s high-traffic flight paths, using Inmarsat’s 30MHz (2 x 15MHz) S-band spectrum allocation in all 28 European Union member states.
Thales has already commenced development of the CGC terminal, which will be fitted onto aircraft to provide a crucial link with the LTE-based ground network. Development work is scheduled for completion in March 2017, prior to system trials and formal entry into service in the same year.
Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said the development of Inmarsat’s EAN will continue at full pace this year. Thales Alenia Space expects to complete the production of the S-band satellite for EAN in the second half of 2016, and other European partners, including Deutsche Telekom, Cobham Satcom, OTE and now Thales, are also making progress with other important components in the project.