Inmarsat signs agreement with Rockwell Collins

Inmarsat has signed a strategic agreement with Rockwell Collins for the global distribution of its next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) flightdeck connectivity solution.

The partners said the agreement builds on a successful long-term strategic relationship between the two companies and will bring new levels of safety and operational efficiency to the aviation industry.

SB-S is the first secure communications system for the flightdeck and meets stringent aviation requirements for safety and operational data exchange with the ground. Its global coverage is Future Air Navigation System (FANS) 1/A compliant and delivers Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) and safety and operational services over a robust, secured IP data link as well as multiple voice channels. SB-S hardware is smaller, lighter and has a lower cost of ownership than other market alternatives, saving space and weight, reducing fuel burn and making it suitable for all single-aisle and wide-bodied aircraft.

This new connection between the flightdeck, aircraft systems and the ground provides a range of benefits to airlines, including enhanced situational awareness across their entire operation, more informed real-time decision making, enhanced real-time performance monitoring, high resolution weather updates, and other data critical to modernising the safety and efficiency of airline and air traffic control (ATC) flight operations.

Rockwell Collins has provided and managed Inmarsat’s high-quality legacy cockpit services to a majority of the world’s transoceanic widebody and business aircraft fleet. Under the new agreement, it will collaborate with airlines to implement the new digital SB-S technology on future and existing fleets, along with additional value added applications and services.

“The advent of the next generation ‘connected cockpit’ brings with it a new set of requirements in terms of service reliability, availability and security for aviation communications,” said Michael DiGeorge, Vice President of Commercial Aviation and Network Services at Rockwell Collins.

“Rockwell Collins’ investment in meeting these stringent requirements and understanding the unique needs of the aviation industry is critical to enabling airlines to reap the benefits of SB-S for safe, secure and effective communications with key industry stakeholders, including ATC, flight dispatch centres and value added resellers. As the airline’s data and voice service provider and Inmarsat distribution partner, we have enabled many breakthrough firsts with industry leading airlines. This agreement reinforces our leadership position and commitment to the enhancement of aviation communications technology and to our airline partners’ success.”

Captain Mary McMillan, vice president of aviation safety and operational services at Inmarsat said: “This new distribution agreement with our valued strategic reseller Rockwell Collins marks a huge milestone in our strategy to bring the digital revolution to the flightdeck. According to our recent study with Helios, aeronautical satellite communications are estimated to have saved the world’s airlines US$3 billion over the past 15 years, through reduced oceanic separation and critical operational communications. We look forward to working with Rockwell Collins on this important paradigm shift, together helping the global air transport industry to integrate digital technology in the cockpit. This 21st century concept of operations will be powered by the high-speed, cost effective capabilities of SB-S and the new applications and services it enables.”

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