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Israel’s Gilat Demonstrates ESA Inflight Connectivity Terminal On First Flight

The Gilat team standing in front of the Honeywell commercial tat aircraft on which the Gilat ESA terminal was tested. Photograph courtesy of Gilat.

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., a worldwide leader in satellite networking technology, solutions and services, announced on 17 December 2019 that Gilat’s In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA) is the first-ever to operate during flight on a commercial aircraft, thus well positioning Gilat to win the vast opportunities in the fast changing market of ESA. The industry milestone was achieved onboard Honeywell’s Boeing 757 test aircraft with Gilat’s ESA terminal operating over Ka-band capacity on Telesat’s Telstar 19 VANTAGE High Throughput Satellite (HTS).

Gilat’s high throughput antenna demonstrated remarkable scores with complete gate-to-gate operation. Gilat’s ESA has no moving parts, full electronic beam steering and a flat panel with an extremely low profile. Gilat’s innovative design combines the benefits of ESA with the advantages of Ka-band, as highlighted by the performance achieved in this testing. The ESA terminal can serve both GEO and NGSO constellations that operate in Ka-band and features Gilat’s industry leading aero modem.

“Honeywell sees the electronically steered antenna as a key future technology, and this test is an important milestone showcasing its potential,” said Kevin Calcagni, Chief Technology Officer at Honeywell Connected Enterprise, Aerospace. “We have been investing in this technology for several years, and in parallel look to industry partners to innovate with us. We are pleased to successfully collaborate with Gilat in this pilot that again demonstrates Honeywell’s leadership position in the connectivity market.”

“Telesat is pleased to join forces with our longtime partner, Gilat, in achieving an additional remarkable milestone, this time using Gilat’s ESA antenna over Ka-band capacity on Telesat’s Telstar 19 VANTAGE GEO HTS,” said Michel Forest, Director of Systems Engineering for the LEO Program at Telesat. “Gilat’s ESA innovations demonstrate the ability to access and unleash the throughput and performance of Ka-band HTS beams with a low-profile antenna as desired by airlines.”

“The accomplishment of the successful in-flight demonstration of Gilat’s IFC ESA terminal onboard Honeywell’s commercial jetliner using Ka-band capacity on Telesat’s Telstar 19 VANTAGE HTS demonstrates Gilat’s innovation and progress for next-generation IFC ESA technology, and our ability to overcome massive technological challenges,” said Liran Wiener, Director of SatCom On-the-Move Programs at Gilat. “This exciting solution meets the communication needs of the aero market including both commercial and smaller jets that until now could not be served efficiently by existing solutions and opens up great opportunity for Gilat both over GEO satellites and Non-GEO constellations.”

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