NXT Communications Corporation, a new mobile connectivity company in Atlanta, has completed the design of a low-cost, flat-panel satellite antenna for the commercial and defense aviation markets. NXTCOMM's high-capacity, flat-panel satellite antenna provides greater performance at significantly lower price points. The design uses standard PCB manufacturing technology with commercial off-the-shelf components and a unique modular sub-array topology scalable to any form factor.
AeroMax fills critical broadband needs facing airlines and operators as they resume flights in a changed connectivity environment. Unlike traditional mechanically steered antenna designs, their antennas are modular and easily mass-producible. Analysts predict a jump in demand for inflight connectivity as air travel resumes this summer, especially among business travelers, at a time of mounting financial losses in the inflight-connectivity service sector that intensified during the COVID-19 aviation shutdown. According to Quilty Analytics' Q1 2020 Satcom Quarterly Briefing, the aero IFC market will be among the most hard-hit by the current environment in the near-term, estimating that the global 2020 Aero IFC service provider revenue impact to be in the range of $400 to $500 Million.
The $130 Billion aviation equipment and services market (LSE) remains significant with more than 39,000 new commercial jets rolling off the production line over the next 20 years, which includes an in-service fleet of 18,000+ commercial transport aircraft across 900 airlines, as well as over 7,500 business jets, according to Boeing and Airbus. Leveraging advancements in RF and semiconductor packaging and manufacturing technology, the AeroMax antenna optimizes a highly integrated silicon-based chipset and sub-array design, which serves as the building block for a portfolio of next-generation, lower-cost commercial satellite antennas. The core aperture that drives the NXTCOMM antenna is field and flight tested, having been deployed in defense aviation and ISR applications.
The design represents a real breakthrough opportunity to bring proven, low-cost, high-performance flat-panel satellite antennas to the commercial aviation marketplace. The AeroMax antenna features no moving parts, is electronically steerable, and delivers significantly enhanced performance in both Ku and Ka frequency bands. NXTCOMM can serve as an attractive alternative to cash-strapped airlines that need connectivity to deliver service to passengers while unlocking new revenue opportunities.
Horton and President and Co-founder Tim Morton assembled a highly skilled team of hardware and software industry veterans across the aviation and satellite world when they started NXTCOMM in 2017. NXT intends to transform inflight passenger experience forever by providing a transformational in-flight connectivity solution that sets a new standard for both user satisfaction and ROI for airlines. NXTCOMM's capabilities include a full-scale production facility in metro Atlanta, as well as Part 145 facilities in Georgia. The commercial and defense aviation industry marks the beginning of NXT’s efforts to revolutionize the broadband connectivity marketplace.
NXTCOMM plans to conduct over-the-air testing later this year, with Aeromax antenna low-rate initial production (LRIP) available in early 2021.