Gilat ESA Terminal Demonstrates In-Flight Connectivity Over NGSO Satellites

By Rachel Jewett | February 20, 2020
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Gilat Satellite Networks said its first-to-flight Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) has achieved an 'industry first' over Non-Geostationary (NGSO) satellites. Photo: Gilat Satellite Networks.

Gilat Satellite Networks said its first-to-flight Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) terminal has achieved what it calls an industry-first with In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) over Non-Geostationary (NGSO) satellites. The company said the demonstration showed high performance and instantaneous Ka-band switchovers between and operating on Telesat‘s Phase 1 LEO satellite and its Anik-F3 GEO satellite, onboard Honeywell‘s Boeing 757 commercial test aircraft, across several flight tests.

Gilat said its high throughput and small form factor ESA operated continuously over GEO, then instantaneously switched connectivity to operate on LEO when it came into view, and back to GEO after operating on LEO. The ESA terminal demonstrated broadband throughput of up to 58 Mbit/sec on both FWD and RTN, round trip delay as low as 18msec and robust operation at low elevation angles of down to 20 degrees. In December, Gilat said its In-Flight Conenctivity ESA was first-ever to operate during flight on a commercial aircraft.

“Gilat’s multi-orbit ESA switchover capabilities will enable airlines to future-proof their connectivity decisions,” said Michel Forest, director of Systems Engineering for the LEO Program at Telesat. “Airlines will be able to access high-performing Ka-band connectivity today, and easily incorporate LEO low-latency connectivity without replacing terminals. Our ongoing development efforts with our valued partner Gilat will ensure airlines have flexibility and ability to meet their inflight data requirements of the future.”

Global Connected Aircraft Podcast logo Want to hear more on aircraft connectivity applications? Check out the Global Connected Aircraft Podcast, where Avionics editor-in-chief Woodrow Bellamy III interviews airlines and industry influencers on how they're applying connectivity solutions.

In January, Comtech Telecommunications reached an agreement with Gilat to acquire the company, strengthening Comtech’s position in the IFC market. In addition, Gilat released its Fourth Quarter (Q4) 2019 results on Wednesday, and revenues for Q4 2019 were $78.3 million compared to $69.7 million for Q4 2018. Gilat’s full year 2019 revenues totaled $263.5 million versus $266.4 million in 2018.

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