Skytrac Becomes Value Added Manufacturer for Iridium Certus 9810 Modem

Skytrac has become a value-added manufacturer for the Iridium Certus 9810 modem, which will be embedded into their SDL-350 satellite communications terminal, pictured here. (Skytrac)

Skytrac has become the latest value-added manufacturer (VAM) for the Iridium Certus 9810 modem, under an expanded partnership with the satellite network provider that will see the development of a new modem and satellite communications terminal.

Certus is Iridium’s next-generation multiservice satellite communications platform designed to provide connectivity to multiple industries, especially maritime and aviation operators. The service will provide support for commercial airliners, and also lower cost hardware for general aviation fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.

Other VAMs for Certus aviation terminals include Avitek, Collins Aerospace (ARINC), Gogo, Honeywell Aerospace, Navicom Aviation, and Satcom Direct.

Under their expanded partnership, Skytrac will redesign the Iridium Certus 9810 modem so that it can be integrated into their SDL-350 2-MCU satellite terminal.

“The 9810 modem is being redesigned by Skytrac for [size, weight, and power] SWaP optimizations. This redesigned modem will be built into the satellite transceiver,” a representative for Skytrac told Avionics International. “When purchasing the SDL-350, it would have the Skytrac-optimized 9810 modem embedded into it. Because the SDL-350 also comes with embedded Wi-Fi connectivity and cellular card modules, operators would gain a full-scale connectivity system with the purchase of the SDL-350.”

Skytrac expects to introduce the new SDL-350 to the aviation market next year, with the terminal expected to be capable of enabling “EO/IR imaging, telemedicine, Timely Recovery of Flight Data (TRFD), large file transfers, credit card processing, GADSS, and more,” the company said in a Sept. 23 press release. The SDL-350 will be capable of achieving globally available broadband transfer rates of 352 kbps both to and from the aircraft.

The Canadian manufacturer expects to see demand for the new technology across multiple segments of aviation, primarily from fixed-wing operators. SDL-350 is being developed to support cockpit connectivity, and “is not intended for widescale In-Flight Entertainment applications although small scale VIP Connectivity will be enabled for business aviation purposes,” the representative said.

Outside of the SDL-350, operators looking to adopt Iridium Certus through Skytrac would also need to equip their aircraft with the company’s active low gain antenna to handle the increased bandwidth provided by the Iridium Next constellation and Certus service.

“Since the SDL-350 was designed with a 2MCU form factor, we expect heavy adoption from the fixed-wing market. The upgraded bandwidth will allow Skytrac to develop new and custom applications depending on operator use-cases. Military and government applications such as remote surveillance and reconnaissance with UAVs, telemedicine applications for EMS, [Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System] GADSS, black box streaming, and credit card processing for airlines, and VIP connectivity for business aviation are all applications that the SDL-350 will enable,” the representative said.

Skytrac is also a VAM for the mid-band Iridium Certus 9770 modem, capable of enabling 22 kbps from and 88 kbps to the aircraft. The modem is being developed as part of the Iridium Certus ISAT-200A-08, capable of supporting SATCOM voice and messaging, flight data acquisition and monitoring as well as real-time aircraft health and usage monitoring.

ISAT-200A-08, an updated version of the ISAT-200A, will also add new capabilities over its predecessor to include VoIP communications, image transfer, graphical weather, and medical data transfer.

Skytrac is also an Iridium Certus Service Provider.

“Iridium Certus ushers in a new era of globally available connectivity for operators looking for higher bandwidth satellite communication solutions,” said Jan van der Heul, Skytrac’s Vice President of Sales. “We’re excited to introduce the two new terminals to the market and look forward to working with operators around the world to enhance their operations through the capabilities we provide.”

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