Inmarsat deploys SB-S into commercial service

17 April 2018 | Natalie Bannerman

Inmarsat, the global satellite operator, has rolled out SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) into commercial service.

The next-gen satellite IP platform has been created to meet the demands of aviation data communications and offers visibility into their airline operations.

“With SB-S in commercial service, the aviation industry can now fully realise the benefits of the connected aircraft - driving greater efficiency in airline operations, while leading the way for the future of aviation safety. We are excited to see the real-world impact that SB-S will have on aviation efficiency and safety in the months and years to come,” said Mary McMillan, vice president of safety and operational services at Inmarsat Aviation.

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SB-S also offers a range of additional value added applications such as: allowing airlines to use rich, real-time data to drive decision-making, improve operational efficiency and assure the highest levels of flight safety.

In addition, SB-S reduces fuel costs for airlines and CO2 emissions using Electronic Flight Bag applications, which includes real-time weather reports, optimised profile descent and trajectory-based operations. Flight tracking, real-time flight data streaming (Black Box in the Cloud) and interface with rescue coordination centres will assure safety by providing a solution to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s new Global Aeronautical Distress & Safety System requirements on flight tracking and data recoverability. With SB-S, remote, secure access to on-board data delivers aircraft health and performance information to the ground in real time, improving predictive maintenance and assisting in quick fault resolution for faster on-the-ground turnaround.

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The solution’s increased periodic position reporting creates reduced separation minimum, unlocking additional airspace capacity to match increased demand, while digital SatVoice capabilities creates an alternative to crowded VHF radio links. SB-S provides a secure communications and surveillance solution for air traffic control requirements, and Inmarsat says that its broadband capability is essential for air traffic management modernisation.

Prior to the commercial launch of SB-S, in-flight tests were carried out on Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 767-300 aircraft and installations on the airline’s entire Airbus A321neo fleet. It was also included in in-flight evaluations with United Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines, as well as being selected by Airbus as a Light Cockpit Satcom (LCS) solution on its A320 and A330 fleets.

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The platform has been approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Performance-Based Aviation Rulemaking Committee as a platform to provide direct data link communication between pilots and air traffic control.