Boeing tests Inmarsat Global Xpress network’s military-signal capabilities


Boeing is conducting a series of tests to demonstrate the ability of Inmarsat-5 F2 commercial communications satellite, part of its Global Xpress network, to offer military Ka-band service.

Conducted along the East Coast since May, the tests involve the successful transfer and receipt of real-time, high-definition video through rotating blades on military helicopters equipped with Satcom capabilities.

In particular, the tests displayed capabilities of the Inmarsat Global Xpress network through its F2 satellite in handling data up to 30MBps, which is higher than previous industry tests on rotorcraft, without signal distortion or loss.

Additional tests on mobile terminals showed how high-speed data can be transferred without degradation even in poor weather conditions and on terminals measuring as small as 8in x 8in.

"These tests show users how they can seamlessly switch in the field between Inmarsat Global Xpress and WGS signals."

The trials involve ten major US Department of Defense (DoD) customer groups on fast-moving platforms and with users at multiple locations, and also confirmed Global Xpress' compatibility with the Wideband Global System (WGS).

WGS is the primary communications architecture for the DoD satellite communications.

Boeing Commercial Satellite Services (BCSS) vice-president Jim Mitchell said: "These tests show users how they can seamlessly switch in the field between Inmarsat Global Xpress and WGS signals.

"The tests also demonstrate how high-speed data and video can be transferred securely with anti-jam protections in adverse environmental and weather conditions."

Scheduled to continue through the end of this month, the trials enable customers to test capabilities that will be available when Inmarsat-5 F2 becomes fully operational over the Atlantic and the Americas.

The services are currently available in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia through the Global Xpress Inmarsat-5 F1 satellite, and will extend to the Asia-Pacific region after the launch of the third spacecraft.

The Inmarsat-5 F1 satellite has been successfully providing wideband connectivity to US Government users across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and eastern Asia since July 2014.

While the second Inmarsat-5 F2 satellite was launched in February, the third satellite is ready for launch later this year, completing the Global Xpress Inmarsat-5 constellation.