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Inmarsat and MCN Cabin and Flight Deck Communications | Business Aviation NewsA joint venture has been agreed between British satellite company, Inmarsat, and Beijing’s Marine Communications and Navigation (MCN) to develop aircraft communications solutions for the cabin and the flight deck for the Chinese commercial aviation market.

Inmarsat’s latest offering, GX Aviation, will feature highly in the joint venture, providing in-flight connectivity solutions to give global coverage, as will SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S).

China’s aircraft passengers will soon be able to enjoy broadband at speeds comparable to the ground-based services, and will be able to use their personal mobile devices.

The agreement is expected to be finalised later this year.

More about CPDLC | Next-Gen aircraft communications providerBritish satellite communications network, Inmarsat, has announced the award of an ESA contract to develop the European requirements for next-generation aircraft communications and air traffic management.

Inmarsat will head a team constructed from more than 30 aviation industry companies to ensure operational efficiency for the program, which will focus on the improvement of data link communications using satellite technology.

Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications, known simply as CPDLC, increases the efficiency of flights, and under the SESAR initiative, will allow operators access to approved routes which can also save fuel and flight time.

The introduction of CPDLC mandates by 2020 will relieve pilot and flight deck workload and greatly improve the congestion of European airspace, optimising route and airport capacity, and also reducing CO2 emissions.

More about CPDLC, from industry-leading Inmarsat partner-providers.

Find out more about Inmarsat | Business Aviation NewsInmarsat, the British satellite company that sprang into the headlines earlier this year when they aided the search for lost Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, have said that they have conducted tests that show the possibilities for tracking flights at 15 minute intervals without the need for elevated costs.

The tests, conducted with Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia, highlighted that current technology is capable of identifying aircraft positioning every 15 minutes, effectively supporting the ICAO plan to scrap current 30-40 minute reporting intervals.

Inmarsat suggested that 15-minute reporting intervals are possible without raising costs, creating a ‘good balance’ between monitoring requirements, limitations of the system installed and the cost of operation.

Other Resellers and Distributors of Inmarsat GX Aviation | Business Aviation NewsAs Inmarsat’s latest satellite constellation, Global Xpress, or GX as it is commonly known, nears completion, Honeywell Aerospace are thinking ahead, and planning to deliver equipment to airlines ready for the entry of GX into service later this year.

GX will deliver high-speed satellite broadband over the Ka-band, which is set to completely change in-flight connectivity with speeds of up to 50Mbps.

The possibilities for the use of GX include mobile technology, which is a burgeoning sector in both commercial and corporate aviation. The benefits will be felt in the cabin and on the flight deck, where real-time applications for pilots and flight crew, such as flight deck weather, flight tracking and inflight messaging will increase safety aspects across many flight operations.

Other SATCOM Communications Providers for Business AviationA new system, launched by UAE satellite communications providers, Yahsat, has completed successful testing this week for their latest state-of-the-art aircraft satellite communications system for their client, Advanced Integrated Systems.

Including Ka-band airborne SATCOM, the new system promises an end-to-end solution. In a statement, Ali Al Hashemi, GM of YahService said, “At Yahsat, we strive to equip our customers with end-to-end satellite solutions that deliver the very latest in connectivity. The completion of the test with AIS exemplifies our commitment to bringing cutting-edge tools to our clients and constantly improving the speed and performance of our services.”

Aircraft satellite communications providers across the world are using the very latest technological breakthroughs to meet the ever-growing demands placed upon the industry for compliance and for seamless connectivity.

Business passengers need global coverage to ensure that business operations are maximised, taking place as effectively in the skies as they do in their ground-based office environments. The industry as a whole is responding to those needs.

Aircraft SATCOM Security ConcernsBritish satellite company, Inmarsat, have responded to SATCOM security concerns raised by cyber security expert, Ruben Santamara, principal security consultant from IOActive Security Services at the Black Hat conference last month, following the publication of a security vulnerabilities white paper.

Santamara explained that some SATCOM systems have vulnerabilities that could allow hackers access to aircraft systems and backed up his claims with proof of how he was able to gain access to Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband SATCOMS through ‘backdoors’. “If we can compromise the SDU,” he said, “we can access the MCDU through the Arinc 429 bus. We can finally reach a critical device in the cockpit.”

Ken Bantoft, vice-president of SATCOM technology and development at SATCOM Direct, argued that the 429 bus has read-only access to the bus, delivering position reporting data and said “You cannot inject data. Transmit and receive are on independent buses. At worst you know where you are.”

Inmarsat emailed their response in terms of SATCOM systems connections and said, “This is really a question that should be directed to the airframe manufacturers. Cyber security on the internal aircraft and network buses is something that airframe manufacturers take very seriously. They have their own stringent cyber-security requirements so that the bus design and avionics connected are implemented in such a way that makes the breaches like the one outlined by IOActive an impossibility.”

Rockwell Collins, who recently signed an agreement with Inmarsat as a value-added reseller of systems said, “Today’s certified avionics systems are designed and built with very high levels of redundancy and security. Simulating these conditions in a lab or virtual environment is not analogous to certified aircraft and systems operating in regulated airspace. The security of these systems is a top priority that we are addressing through collaboration with industry regulators, customers and suppliers. In addition to meeting today’s security needs, we have ongoing research in enhanced security features to respond to evolving security threats.”