Satcom Direct confirms SD Plane Simple Ka-band terminal is DO-160 certified

Satcom Direct, which has offices in the UAE, has received DO-160 approval for its SD Plane Simple Ka-band tail mount antenna.

The SD G550 supported the Ka-band flight testing for the DO-160 approval. Image: Satcom Direct

The advanced technology terminal exclusively connects with Viasat’s Jet ConneX inflight broadband solution, powered by the Global Xpress, GX satellite constellation from its recently acquired Inmarsat business. The achievement of the industry standard follows more than 400 validation hours and confirms that the rigorous environmental testing of the avionics has been successfully completed. Tests included extensive weather, thermal, and vibration qualifications to ratify the official approval.

Customers equipping airframes with the Plane Simple Ka-band terminal will have immediate access to global coverage with the GX satellite constellation. They can later upgrade to Viasat’s full Ka-band network, including the ViaSat-3 satellites and next-generation GX satellites as they come online. This will enhance the long-term return on investment for operators adopting the next-generation terminal and ensure aircraft are future-proofed to stay aligned with evolving connectivity technologies.

The certification represents the next phase toward the terminal’s commercial service introduction. SD has confirmed its first customer and is talking with other operators keen to participate in Supplemental Type Certification (STC) generation, with the first STC expected to be confirmed by the end of Q1 2024.

“This second iteration of our Plane Simple antenna technology is a game-changer for the industry as it unlocks the complete current and future performance capabilities of the Global Xpress network and minimises beam and satellite switching time. We’re delivering the most powerful, reliable, and genuinely global connectivity to operators that depend on us to keep them connected during flight,” said SD President Chris Moore.

The flight tests, which took place on the SD Gulfstream G550 aircraft under an aircraft-specific supplemental type certificate, exceeded expectations, as seamless access to the most data-hungry applications, including high-definition video conferencing and video streaming, as well as multiple digital applications for high volumes of users travelling on mid- to large-size jets were consistently achieved.

“SD has a reputation as a technology-forward company. Its innovative approach, guided by a commitment to deliver powerful new connectivity solutions to support the very specific needs of business aviation users, is exemplified by creating the first terminal that will connect with our existing and next-generation Ka-band satellites. This pioneering vision is one that we adhere to as it adds real value to the offering.  We’re pleased to be working with SD to offer customers exceptional connectivity experiences through customised Viasat service plans, including the first-ever power-by-the-hour payment option for Jet ConneX, enabling business jet operators to pay an hourly rate for inflight connectivity,” adds Kai Tang, Head of Business Aviation, Viasat.