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The E-4B aircraft

Low-Profile Antennas Link with LEO and GEO Satellites

ThinKom Solutions is providing next-generation Ka-band aeronautical satellite antenna systems for the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center aircraft.

ThinKom Solutions has announced its delivery of next-generation Ka-band aeronautical satellite antenna systems for the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center aircraft. The E-4B aircraft (SLC3S-A), a key component of the National Command Systems for the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, functions as the National Airborne Operations Center. It provides fully secure and survivable full-time global communications.

ThinKom’s Falcon-Ka2517 fuselage-mounted phased-array antenna systems were selected for installation on the E-4B platforms under a modernization program to replace aging Ku-band ESA systems. This new satellite communications (satcom) system will enable more reliable and more cost-efficient higher-bandwidth voice, data, and video communications in a rugged low-profile subsystem that exploits both military and commercial satellite equipment (see figure). The upgrades are expected to become operational by the third quarter of 2018.

This is one of the compact satellite communications antennas usable for voice, data, and video use around the world.

ThinKom’s ThinAir Ka-band satcom suite supports data rates to 400 Mb/s in the forward link and as much as 100 Mb/s in the return link. The system employs phased-array antenna apertures packaged in extremely low-profile radomes, resulting in minimal aerodynamic drag in flight. The Ka-band airborne antenna system supports hybrid operation with both geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and low earth orbit (LEO) satellite networks.

“The decision to rely on ThinkKom’s new Ka-band system for the mission-critical application is an important validation of the reliability and performance of our superior technology solution,” said ThinkKom’s director of sales, Greg Otto. “The product is fully compatible with both commercial and government Ka-band services. We are already engaged with leading inflight entertainment and connectivity service providers, and we expect to see a significant number of deployments in the commercial aviation sector.”

ThinKom Solutions is a supplier of broadband antennas and other products for aeronautical, on-the-move (OTM), and man-portable applications, with affordable high-data-rate solutions at X-, Ku-, Ka-, and Q-band frequencies.

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