Avionica's satLINK max Iridium satellite connectivity system has achieved FAA type certification approval for the Airbus A320 series aircraft. (Avionica)
Airbus A320 series operators have a new Iridium satellite connectivity system aftermarket upgrade available after Avionica and Aircraft Systems Manufacturing (ASM) achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) approval for the satLINK MAX, with avRDC MAX remote data concentrator and quick access recorder.
The certification approval was developed for the “world’s first operator of the A321P2F series aircraft,” Avionica said in a March 25 press release.
Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), a joint venture established by Singapore-based ST Engineering and Airbus, developed the modification for converting the A321 from passenger to the P2F configuration.
Airbus describes the modification as featuring the integration of a large main deck cargo door in the forward fuselage, plugging the passenger windows, and deactivating most passenger doors. The forwardmost left passenger door is replaced by a smaller one to optimize the number of cargo positions on the main deck.
Airbus published the first interior images of the A321 P2F as it prepared for entry into service in October. (Airbus)
The world's first A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) entered into service for Qantas, operated on behalf of Australia Post, according to an Oct. 27 Airbus press release.
Claudia Espinosa, Vice President of commercial for Avionica, told Avionics International in an emailed statement that this is a "Block 1" Iridium satellite communications system, that has been designed to allow future upgrades to the Iridium Certus and NEXT satellite networks.
"It’s important to note that this aircraft currently had no existing communications and data management hardware," Espinosa said. "The innovative way that Avionica has designed this system will allow for a future plug and play replacement once Iridium NEXT has been certified for Aviation use."
The satLINK MAX is Avionica’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) voice and data system capable of providing up to four channels of Iridium satellite-based voice and data communications.
Expansion of the approved design to interface with Avionica’s avWiFi onboard network server (ONS) is on track to achieve type certification by the second half of 2021 through ASM’s recently appointed FAA Organization Designation Authorization.
"Utilizing the existing satLINK Max for long-range communications as the first phase of this program," Espinosa said. "JANA ASM’s provisioning of Avionica’s current aviONS system enables the A320 aircraft family of operators access to connectivity for EFB moving maps, graphical weather, and third-party applications."