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Boeing and General Dynamics’ new radome to enhance IFEC services

Boeing and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (General Dynamics) have signed an agreement to develop a new radome, the Boeing Tri-band, which will support Ku and K/Ka wideband commercial satellite communications.

The Boeing Tri-band radome is designed to provide safe and reliable passenger services, such as in-flight use for cell phones, internet access via Wi-Fi connectivity and live satellite television broadcasts. It is planned for use as a line-fit option on Boeing 737s, 747s, 777s and 787 Dreamliners. It will alsobe available for both retrofit and production airplane installation in the fourth quarter of 2015. General Dynamics will supply the radomes.

The Boeing Tri-band is approximately the size of a car-top luggage carrier and has a maximum weight of 80 pounds. It is designed for use with antennas from multiple manufacturers and with data services from all current providers. Based on Boeing’s Ku-band radome design, Tri-band is claimed to meet or exceed current Ku-band radome performance and also provides performance for Ka-band operators.

“Airlines are telling us that the Boeing Tri-band’s affordability, flexibility, wide range of capability and compatibility with all current data services make it ideal for their Boeing fleets, which have to quickly and economically adopt new technology to better serve passengers,” commented Rick Anderson, vice president, Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“General Dynamics and Boeing have enjoyed a long partnership in radome development,” said Jim Losse, vice president and general manager of Advanced Materials for General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. “This Ku/K/Ka tri-band system will offer the flying public better in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) over current single band Ku systems.”

The Tri-band radome can be mounted on new or existing airplane mounting plates and supports satellite communications at all frequencies currently used and planned for use, in the Ku-band and extended K- and Ka-bands. It is scheduled to meet all FAA environmental and safety requirements, including the recently revised FAA regulations for bird strike survivability.

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