NXTCOMM promotes antenna improvement and certification management – PaxEx.Aero
A rendering of the electronically controlled phased array antenna solution NXTCOMM
How important is hardware certification for an in-flight connectivity antenna manufacturer? At the ESA launch of NXTCOMM, the newly hired Vice President for Aero Structures and Certification will report directly to the CEO to ensure the program faces as few internal challenges as possible.
The logistics for quickly installing customer aircraft fleets requires that every aspect be done efficiently and quickly while we work with our MRO partners. I am very excited to work for an agile, results-oriented company with a focus on customer success.
– Incoming VP Aero Structures & Certification David Kozlowski
David Kozlowski will take on this role for NXTCOMM and oversee the installation, testing and certification of NXTCOMM’s AeroMax® antenna in commercial aircraft. Kozlowski has four decades of aircraft maintenance and modification experience. Most recently he worked at Panasonic Avionics. While at PAC, Kozlowski oversaw the successful Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approvals for Panasonic’s Global Communications Suite (GCS) in-flight connectivity systems for commercial and VIP aircraft from Boeing and Airbus.
Read more: NXTCOMM set for ESA tests and more with Eutelsat contract
NXTCOMM also includes Rob Davies as Director Product Engineering. Davies will oversee software development and testing of NXTCOMM’s electronically steerable antennas and lead efforts to improve the panel’s manufacturability. Davies previously worked for the satellite antenna company Intellian Technologies. “I love taking technology from a concept to a product. My focus is on bringing NXTCOMM antennas to the consumer level at an affordable price with good quality, ”says Davies.
NXTCOMM recently announced a partnership with Eutelsat to demonstrate its electronically controlled antenna and expects to accelerate manufacturing in early 2021. This will help drive the testing phase of the program, which is expected to run on-site for at least a year. And if everything goes according to plan, a Ka-band version of the product will follow the current Ku-band model, which was about 9 to 12 months ago.
Check all boxes
The company is optimistic that it will achieve its goals of bringing an aircraft-tested solution to market in the coming years, the price and performance details of which meet the airline’s requirements. Steve Newell, Chief Commercial Officer recently spoke to PaxEx.Aero about efforts to meet its goals for power consumption, size, cost and reliability.
The cost is “largely figured out,” he explains, admitting that everyone wants to be cheaper and that there is a “light premium” to be paid for a system that meets today’s GEO requirements with full forward compatibility with LEO of the future. While some gimbal antenna solutions have succeeded in navigating these satellite switches, he is confident that ESAs will ultimately win this battle.
The size is also irrelevant, as the kit fits into the space of the ARINC 791 bracket. And the solid-state hardware should be sufficiently reliable.
Half the measure for NXTCOMM is power consumption. Newell continues to want the aggregate draw to go down, but believes the market is ready to move forward at the levels NXTCOMM expects:
It’s less of a problem for us because we don’t exceed the expectations of people who have not yet delivered. So this part is amazingly fine. When we put our numbers out, they say, “Oh, that’s less than so and so,” and you say, “I think that’s good.” It doesn’t feel good to me because it still looks like it’s a large number, like it’s an oversized power demand for commercial aircraft. But at the same time it’s less than what the guy said before me, so it’s okay. “
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