Inmarsat Upgrades Jet ConneX Connectivity for Business Aviation

Inmarsat introduced the next chapter of its Jet ConneX (JX) in-flight broadband solution, which includes a new range of service plans for business aviation connectivity. Viasat’s acquisition of Inmarsat is also proceeding after having been approved by the European Commission. The transaction is expected to conclude by the end of May. (Photo: Inmarsat)

Inmarsat has unveiled a new and improved version of its Jet ConneX (JX) in-flight broadband solution for the business aviation market. The new service plans offer high-quality connectivity to meet the increasing data demands of users.

Inmarsat guarantees reliable speeds and a consistent customer experience to ensure a significant improvement in performance.

The upgraded service plans leverage the JetWave terminal from Honeywell. They are also designed to be compatible with three upcoming next-generation terminals from Satcom Direct, Orbit, and Honeywell. Satcom Direct’s Plane Simple Ka-band system has already begun flight testing and may be operational later this year.

“For eight or nine years now, we’ve been running more or less the same subscription plans,” Harry Shadbolt, Inmarsat’s Global Channel Director, told Avionics. “With the new generations of satellites and new technology coming out, [like] new tail mount antennas, we’re releasing some great plans to max that capability. We’re releasing a whole new generation of higher-speed, more capable plans—called Jet ConneX, part of Inmarsat’s JX Evolution program.”

Jet ConneX has been made active on over 1,400 business jets since 2016. 

Satcom Direct “will act as both a distribution partner for the airtime and developer of the advanced tail-mount terminal,” according to Inmarsat. Shadbolt noted that they expect type approval in the third or fourth quarter of this year. “That’s really the hardware complement to the spacecraft and services development that we’ve been working. It’s a new modem; it’s fewer LRUs [line-replaceable units] to be able to fit onto a wider range of aircraft. It should be easier to install and also will have access to plans which first-generation terminals won’t.”

Seven more Inmarsat satellite payloads will enter into service by 2025, including two Inmarsat-6 satellites that have already been launched. The growing satellite network, along with next-generation terminals, will provide top-tier customers with speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

Shadbolt also commented on this week’s announcement about the launch of the new Inmarsat-8 (I-8) small satellites in 2026. “That’s the eighth generation of Inmarsat satellites; they are L-band satellites, and we’ve put in an order for three of them,” he said. ”This whole idea of bringing Inmarsat into the 2040s and beyond is really underway.”

Swissto12 will use HummingSat, its satellite platform, to develop and manufacture the geostationary satellites for Inmarsat. Swissto12 will also utilize 3D printing technologies and specialized radiofrequency and payload products in the development of the I-8 satellites.

In other Inmarsat news, the proposed acquisition by Viasat was approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission last week. On May 25, it was announced that Viasat’s acquisition of Inmarsat is proceeding to close after receiving unconditional approval from the European Commission. The transaction is expected to close by the end of May—this was the last major approval needed. 

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