ThinKom Solutions, Inc. and Inmarsat Government are collaborating to deliver more efficient and reliable satellite communications (SATCOM) for tactical operations.
The companies will combine ThinKom’s ThinAir Ka2517 antenna with Inmarsat Government’s G-MODMAN II and G-MODMAN Open Platform (OP) modem managers to support Department of Defense (DoD) connectivity around the globe.
“Delivering efficient connectivity to our government users around the globe is of paramount importance to ThinKom,” said Bill Milroy, CTO and chairman of ThinKom Solutions. “We’re proud to work with Inmarsat Government to combine ThinKom’s highly reliable and efficient Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub (VICTS) phased-array antenna into a communications package that delivers every time and everywhere.”
According to the companies, the solution enables the vision of Advanced Battle Management System contribution to Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) operations. This unique combination delivers on many facets of the US Government’s tactical edge efforts. By enabling cloud-based computing, seamless data sharing, intelligent operations, or autonomous use cases, the solution reduces decision-making timelines for intelligent assets supporting troops in the field.
This configuration covers the full Ka-band frequency range in one terminal, providing greater access to current and future satellite constellations and associated services, while significantly lowering the physical profile on the airborne platform. It can reduce aircraft downtime and component swap requirements previously required for different mission deployments.
The combined technologies could bring several additional operational efficiencies to the market, including:
- Agility to interoperate seamlessly with satellites in geostationary and non-geostationary orbits, ensuring worldwide connectivity meeting the JADC2 requirements for multi-orbit, multi-constellation operations.
- Improved satellite switching capabilities to ensure uninterrupted connectivity while maintaining network security for all US Government applications.
- Reduced drag, thanks to the ThinAir Ka2517 low-profile radome, resulting in lower fuel consumption and longer time on station, without refueling,
- Flexibility to work on the broadest possible range of aircraft sizes and configurations.
“Integrating the spectral efficiency of the ThinAir Ka2517 with Inmarsat Government’s G-MODMAN II modem manager delivers a powerful, turnkey solution for our government customers,” said Matt Wissler, Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat Government. “Our efforts with ThinKom will result in substantially improved satellite communications resiliency while improving airborne platform range through reduced aircraft drag leading to lower fuel consumption.”
The fully type-approved quad-band version of the ThinAir Ka2517 satcom aero terminal can operate on Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) worldwide satellite network. This includes seamless switching on the GX commercial network’s global service beams and Inmarsat’s high-capacity, global military Ka-band (Mil Ka) network’s steerable beams, plus the capability to connect to the US Government’s Wideband Global SATCOM system (WGS). This flexibility and interoperability provide Inmarsat Government’s customers with always-on availability, capacity, coverage and capability for a wide range of mission profiles.
Additionally, the ThinAir Ka2517 antenna and G-MODMAN II combination deliver a future-proof solution for government customers. The offering is compatible with the Ka-band satellites in orbit today, as well as Inmarsat’s fully funded technology roadmap. To meet increasingly complex SATCOM capability and throughput demands, Inmarsat is aiming to launch a further six satellites by 2025 and significantly expand its ground network to support them. This includes additional capacity, coverage for both commercial and Mil Ka capabilities worldwide as well as two highly elliptical orbit satellite payloads for Arctic coverage.
The Ka2517 is based on ThinKom’s field-proven, patented VICTS phased-array technology. VICTS antennas have an unparalleled record of reliability with installations on over 1,550 commercial aircraft with over 31 million hours of accrued flight time and a mean-time-between-failure exceeding 100,000 hours. Ka2517 antennas have been providing continuous service on US government aircraft since 2018.
The G-MODMAN II modem manager is a flexible, easy-to-use solution that seamlessly integrates with the ThinAir Ka2517 and provides the enabling technology to support the implementation of the current and future generation of GX services across aviation platforms. G-MODMAN II builds on Inmarsat’s robust monitoring system and includes high-fidelity monitoring and logging features, allowing easy access to mission-critical data and enabling highly detailed performance and trend analysis that leverages advanced Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence techniques.