European Space Agency

Honeywell Aspire 400 Inmarsat Satcom System

Objectives

Honeywell Aspire 400 is a new-to-market cockpit satcom communication system that enables reliable and essential communication for pilots and crew on all aircraft types. The system provides safety voice and data services for the aircraft cockpit and non‐safety voice and data services for the aircraft cabin. In turn, the Aspire 400 system dramatically improves fleet management, flight safety, passenger and crew experience, mission effectiveness, maintenance, flight operations, aircraft turnaround time and costs. With a small antenna and SDU footprint, it has the potential to replace legacy HF radio systems to improve system performance. The Aspire 400 increases safety and efficiency of air travel. Innovations in satcom technology enable more planes to safely fly in the air at any given time. Real time avionics and performance data can be streamed from the plane to airline operations on the ground so that maintenance issues can be identified before the aircraft lands, reducing delays at turnaround. Planes can now be re-routed mid-flight when weather reports reveal more efficient routes.

Challenges

One of the main challenges that we expect to face would be selling the Aspire 400 system to a market that has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 virus over the past few months. 

Benefits

Aspire 400 provides a data pipe to and from the aircraft, delivering safety services and high-speed voice and data communications for cockpits and cabins in a compact and lightweight package. Using the robust, global Inmarsat I-4 satellite network, Aspire 400 provides single or dual channel SwiftBroadband connectivity. It allows for high-quality voice and streaming data up to 432 kbps SBB. A High-Data Rate (HDR) software upgrade can add more data capability to the system, enabling data speeds of up to 650 Kbps.

Using the Aspire system, an aircraft can communicate securely with Air Traffic Control and the Airlines Operation Centre. The systems also offer broadband data rates that enable Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) and other cockpit applications.

Features

The Aspire 400 system:

  • provides FANS 1/A, Air Traffic Service (ATS) voice, Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) safety services (eliminating the need for HF radio)
  • has improved voice quality over High Frequency (HF) radio
  • provides encrypted communication between the aircraft and the ground
  • has a secure link using VPN security
  • provides full hardware segregation for support of ATC, AOC and PIES domains
  • provides support for ATN-OSI (current) and ATN-IPS (future) applications
  • is environmentally hardened for non-pressurized installations
  • is smaller, lighter, and lower power than previous generation satcom systems

Aspire 400 operates on the Inmarsat I-4 network and enables two channels of SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) service. Each channel provides up to 432 kbps (or 650 kbps with High Data Rate software enabled). The Aspire 400 system can be installed with another Honeywell Iridium or Inmarsat satcom system in a “Dual Satcom” installation to ensure reliability and global coverage.

System Architecture

Honeywell Connected Enterprise Solution Architects work with our customers to design an optimal Aspire 400 strategy that meets our customer’s individual needs. The Aspire 400 system includes:

  • A Satellite Data Unit (SDU), which contains two modems that support satellite communications.
  • A SATCOM Configuration Module (SCM), which is used to configure and store the SDU configuration information.
  • High Power Amplifier (HPA), which is used to amplify a signal
  • Diplexer/Low Noise Amplifier Type F, which transmits and receives SBB services over the Inmarsat Network.

The flexible system also includes a variety of antenna options to suit the operators' needs. Those include:

  • Intermediate Gain Antenna: single- or multi-channel, Class 7, up to 330 kbps
  • Enhanced Low Gain Antenna: single-channel, Class 4, 200 kbps
  • High-Gain Antenna: single- or multi-channel, Class 6, 432 kbps

License keys are available to enable additional Aspire 400 features (for example, a second SBB channel).

Plan

After Aspire 400 Phase 1 certification in December 2020, the project plan includes Phase 2 (certification in Q2 2021) and future development of a Class 4 HELGA antenna and HPLD.

Current status

The program has submitted TSO application and awaiting certification in December 2020.

Status date

Monday, January 11, 2021 - 09:20