Inflight internet service is now a standard offering for business jet customers. Buyers of the Challenger 3500 will find that the aircraft comes with Iridium Certus hardware on board. Collins Aerospace is Bombardier‘s preferred service provider for the offering.
Collins Aerospace’s new Iridium SATCOM solution will provide Challenger 3500 operators with higher data transmission speeds, lower weight and a smaller antenna footprint than previous generation SATCOM systems, reducing drag and power usage while providing more efficient connectivity services to passengers in the cabin. – Nate Boelkins, senior vice president, business and regional avionics, Collins Aerospace
The Iridium Certus link delivers a maximum connection speed of 704 kbps. While this won’t support broadband activity in the cabin, it is a sufficient for core connectivity needs, particularly on the flight deck. Messaging services should also perform reasonably at those speeds. Voice services can also be reliably delivered over the Certus network, addressing a major requirement for the business aviation market.
Since launching its upgraded constellation of satellites Iridium has been clear it does not want to compete in what it sees as a commoditized broadband inflight internet market. CEO Matt Desch is keen on flight deck support via an affordable, isolated network for larger aircraft, “It is going to be a secure service that is separate from the wifi in the pack. Everyone right now knows that you have to create a secure environment for the cockpit. We think Iridium NEXT would be a great choice for the applications they need in the cockpit. We are in there today; it is just going to be a major upgrade with the broadband on Iridium NEXT.”
And for the business aviation community that can also extend to more critical services rather than streaming video entertainment. “For general aviation, some corporate jets, even for some shorter regional flights, [operators] don’t really want the expense of extremely high bandwidth systems that offer high speeds but at a high cost,” Desch explained when the final Iridium satellites launched in 2019. “For an occasional user that has critical needs that would be perfect for the Iridium system.”
And while the Certus upgrade to 704 kbps enables significantly more functionality than the legacy Iridium solution, the coverage footprint and reliability of the network plus the smaller hardware footprint are major selling points on the kit.
Iridium’s service comes with low latency and truly global coverage, thanks to the LEO constellation of 66 active Iridium NEXT satellites.
In addition to flying as standard on the Challenger 3500, Bombardier notes the kit can be retrofit on all Challenger 300 or Challenger 350 aircraft in service today.
Speaking on the program, Jean-Christophe Gallagher, EVP Aircraft Sales and Bombardier Defense, added, “By integrating the new Certus system with the Challenger 3500 aircraft, we offer our customers a very reliable connectivity service covering the whole world from pole to pole. This demonstrates our unwavering commitment to our customers.”
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