rockwell collins and iridium to deliver next-gen aviation services
July 23, 2018
Iridium Communications Inc. and Rockwell Collins have signed an agreement to make Rockwell Collins the newest service provider for Iridium Certus satellite solutions over the Iridium® NEXT network. Rockwell Collins will be adding the service to its comprehensive suite of aircraft connectivity applications for commercial, government and ARINCDirectSM business customers.
In addition to being a service provider, Rockwell Collins is also a value added manufacturer (VAM) for the design and production of Iridium Certus service terminals. As a VAM and a service provider, Rockwell Collins will play a critical role in delivering the next-generation L-band broadband solution to commercial, business and government aviation customers around the world.
“Adding Rockwell Collins as an Iridium Certus service provider is a major milestone for the program,” said Michael Hooper, director and general manager of Iridium’s Aviation Line of Business. “Given the FAA’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 supports all areas of aircraft connectivity, from the flight deck to the cabin, regardless of location.”
Initial flight trials will take place later this year, with Iridium Certus commercial service introduction for aviation users expected in mid-2019. Commercial service introduction for other verticals, such as maritime and land-mobile, is planned for 2018. Iridium Certus is powered by Iridium NEXT, the Company’s next-generation satellite constellation, currently being deployed. To date, there have been six successful Iridium NEXT launches, deploying 55 new satellites to orbit. Two more launches are planned for 2018, each carrying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, for a total of 75 launched, with 66 in the operational constellation and nine serving as on-orbit spares. The seventh launch is currently targeted for July 25, 2018 out of SpaceX’s west coast launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
“Iridium Certus will be an important new service addition to meet the connectivity needs of commercial, business and government aircraft,” said Michael DiGeorge, vice president of Commercial Aviation Services for Rockwell Collins. “For our ARINCDirect business aviation operators, Iridium Certus offers small form factor antennas and terminals which are ideal for operators of smaller aircraft requiring internet connectivity. For our airline and government customers, the Iridium Certus service enables a variety of capabilities for cockpit safety, enhanced aircraft reporting, graphical weather, EFBs and other operational aircraft services.
The new agreement builds on the long-standing relationship between Rockwell Collins and Iridium, which spans more than a decade and began with the advent of Iridium aviation service offerings.