McLEAN, Va. -- Rockwell Collins has signed a contract with Iridium Communications Inc. to become a service provider and value-added manufacturer for the Iridium Certus satellite communications platform.
The deal adds to Rockwell Collins' suite of commercial, government and ARINCDirect connectivity applications in the aerospace sector, while also allowing the company to deliver L-band broadband solutions.
"Iridium Certus will be an important new service addition to meet the connectivity needs of commercial, business and government aircraft," said Michael DiGeorge, Rockwell Collins' Vice President of Commercial Aviation Services. "For our ARINCDirect business aviation operators, Iridium Certus will offer small form factor antennas and termals, which are ideal for operators of smaller aircraft requiring internet connectivity.
"For our airline and government customers, the Iridium Certus will enable a variety of enhanced capabilities for cockpit safety, enhanced aircraft reporting, graphical weather, EFBs and other operational aircraft services."
Iridium Certus will be powered by Iridium's "NEXT" satellite array, which are currently being deployed from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The company announced its latest launch took place earlier this week, with the last scheduled to take place by the end of the year.
Once complete, Iridium will have 75 NEXT satellites in orbit, with plans to complete flight trials in time for Iridium Certus commercial service to begin in mid-2019.
The company said Iridium Certus will eventually be able to provide data speed options as high as 1.4 Mbps, using high-gain antennas measuring about 25x10x6 cm.
"Adding Rockwell Collins as an Iridium Certus service provider is a major milestone for the program," said Michael Hooper, Director and General Manager for Iridium's Aviation Line of Business. "Given the Federal Aviation Administration's recent movement toward adopting SATCOM as a primary means of onboard communications, we believe Iridium Certus will be that much more of a shake up to the status quo within the aviation industry, bringing new capabilities, smaller hardware, faster speeds and competitive price packages. Like the services Rockwell Collins offers, Iridium Certus will support all areas of aircraft connectivity, from the flight deck to the cabin, regardless of location."