New Flat Panel Antenna Technology for the Aviation Industry

Kymeta and TECOM (a Smiths Microwave brand) have announced a Partner Development Program Agreement for the aviation market. Under the terms of the agreement, TECOM will incorporate Kymeta® mTenna® technology into an aviation grade terminal to demonstrate connectivity to a Ku-band satellite.

Kymeta’s flat panel satellite antenna technology offers a lightweight, low profile and low maintenance antenna that significantly cuts operational costs of aircraft connectivity by reducing the drag, weight, and maintenance compared to current aircraft satellite terminals. Kymeta's flat antenna can be steered electronically and can track a moving satellite – from a mobile platform. They are addressing an industry-wide issue and enabling a level of high-speed, global connectivity that crew and passengers want while in the air.

Products based on their mTenna® technology have tunable elements arranged in a precisely calculated pattern. Radio frequency (RF) energy is scattered when the elements are activated holographically generating a beam. The direction of the beam is defined by the specific elements that are electronically activated - a design that allows for both continuous and instantaneous changes in direction.

This technology uses a holographic approach to electronically acquire, steer, and lock a beam to any satellite, with no moving parts. This technological innovation results in an antenna that creates vast opportunities for the satellite industry to expand and evolve the marketplace. As more companies begin to launch low earth orbit and medium earth orbit constellations, this technology is uniquely positioned to unlock the spectrum and coverage. Their software-driven antennas can rapidly and smoothly acquire and switch satellites in a fast-moving LEO constellation without dropping the connection.

According to Greg Lackmeyer, Director, Business Development at TECOM - Coupling Kymeta’s mTenna® antenna technology with their next generation RF transceiver is transformational for the global IFC marketplace. They consistently get requests for flat panel solutions from airlines and IFEC providers. The combination will provide their customers with unique technology that will enable lower operational costs while delivering high quality data throughput.