A major announcement by Viasat Inc., (NASDAQ: VSAT) took place at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, regarding the introduction of its second-generation Ku-/Ka-band shipset, including an advanced hybrid antenna and complementary radome. Viasat's booth at the Expo is 3A10.
This latest dual-band system is focused at the commercial wide-body aircraft market, which will keep passengers and crew connected across commercial Ku- and Ka-band Geosynchronous and Non-Geosynchronous satellite networks, anywhere they fly. The shipset sets into motion an accelerated migration path for commercial airlines to operate on Viasat’s global network. It immediately enables worldwide roaming connectivity for new or retrofit aircraft, serving a large and growing portion of their routes on the fastest Ka-band networks, and the balance on global widebeam or spot beam Ku- satellites. Airlines can steadily migrate a greater proportion of their routes to the faster, more economical Ka-band service enabled by a growing array of partner satellites as well as the global ViaSat-3 constellation planned for launch in 2021 and 2022.
Viasat's years of experience in delivering dual-band antenna systems to the global market. The Company’s first-generation shipset served airframes ranging from commercial narrow-body planes to larger senior leader government aircraft.
Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation, Viasat stated that hybrid antenna systems are not new to Viasat—they have nearly two decades of experience deploying and managing these systems. Similar to the first generation, Viasat’s latest dual-band system promotes smooth transitions among multiple satellite beams across Ku- and Ka-band networks. Their next-generation Ku-/Ka-band terminal is the most capable and flexible solution for commercial wide-body aircraft—giving them a global solution today—with peace of mind that the technology deployed will be forward-compatible with the innovations in spacecraft technology of tomorrow.
For the airlines: Viasat is providing a forward-compatible hybrid shipset solution that leverages today’s Ku- and Ka-band networks, but enables airlines to easily transition to the faster, more reliable, more economical Ka-band networks of tomorrow.
For the passengers and crew: Viasat’s hybrid technology enables continuous connectivity when in-flight.
In-flight, customers will have access to all the Ka-band satellites currently participating in Viasat’s global network (WildBue-1, Anik-F2, ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and KA-SAT, as well as nbn’s SkyMuster I and II and other current and future partner satellites).
When out of Ka-band coverage, service will switch to the Ku-band network. Viasat is continuing to add Ka-band capacity to its global network through partnerships and via its ViaSat-3 global Ka-band constellation, comprised of three ultra-high capacity satellites that are expected to offer complete visible Earth coverage.
The first two ViaSat-3 class satellites are under construction to serve the Americas and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) markets, respectively. These two satellites are expected to be launched by the 2021 timeframe. Viasat has also recently developed a third ViaSat-3 class satellite for Asia Pacific (APAC), expected to be launched in the 2022 period—enabling full global Ka-band coverage.