Satcom Direct, the business aviation solutions provider, and Gilat Satellite Networks have signed a strategic agreement to develop and supply new ultra-low profile electronically steered antennas (ESA) to support in-flight connectivity (IFC) for business, government, and defence.
Available from 2025 and designed for optimised compatibility with the OneWeb low earth orbit (LEO) constellation, the hardware strengthens the Plane Simple Antenna Series portfolio with the addition of the Gilat advanced ESA that will unlock the full broadband potential of OneWeb.
The collaboration will see Gilat develop the antenna system while Satcom Direct Avionics, the Canadian hardware manufacturing division of SD, will work with OneWeb to develop the SD Modem Unit to harness the full potential of the LEO constellation. To meet soaring data demands, customers will also benefit from the antenna’s full-duplex performance, a key capability in a small-form, power-efficient device that allows data to be sent and received simultaneously.
This ESA terminal, including the radome, will aim to provide an industry-leading compact form factor (around 2.5in or 64mm) that will unlock the highest possible bandwidth from the OneWeb network. The addition to the Plane Simple antenna series reflects the SD agnostic philosophy, which enables customised connectivity solutions tailored for every mission requirement with a common terminal architecture, simplified upgrades, and flexible pricing plans.
Commenting on the agreement, Chris Moore, President at Satcom Direct, said: “We already have a strong relationship with OneWeb and have engaged with Gilat, due to their long SATCOM, aviation, and radio frequency pedigree, to create the next generation ESA in support of creating a solution that provides more options to our customers seeking reliable high-speed connectivity or additional redundancy. The ESA terminal will provide genuine global coverage and superior bandwidth performance, complemented by ease of installation. This most advanced terminal will also address customer requests to lower aircraft drag, weight and fuel burn. We’re excited to add this new state-of-the-art antenna from Gilat to our portfolio. We know customers will welcome the reality of the truly global coverage from such a small format terminal.”
Adi Sfadia, CEO of Gilat, added: “We are honoured to have been selected by Satcom Direct to provide them with our expertise to develop this new ESA product. Together, we will create a next-generation ESA to support the dynamic connectivity demands of the global business aviation sector with a best-in-class antenna. The agreement gives us the opportunity to expand our proven technology know-how in commercial aviation and to showcase our expertise alongside Satcom Direct, the only company dedicated to delivering satcom connectivity to business and government aviation worldwide. It is a major milestone for Gilat as we extend our global IFC leadership in commercial aviation to business aviation, as well as into our strategic focus area in government and defence.”
Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb, stated: “The combined expertise of Satcom Direct Avionics, Gilat and OneWeb will deliver customers faster, more consistent broadband services across the globe. In the dynamic connectivity landscape, it is essential we team with premium partners, which is why we’re delighted to be part of this powerful offering as we reinforce our presence and service in the business aviation sector.”