Ultimate visibility into real-time airline operations with SB-S

How the IP-connected flight deck will drive aviation’s digital transformation

Inmarsat’s SB-S is the first and only global, secure, IP connection for operations and safety communications, delivering incomparable amounts of protected data everywhere airlines fly. A major step-change in technology, the SB-S platform is designed to meet the needs of aviation in the digital age.

SB-S unlocks game-changing operational benefits for airlines. The reason is simple: connected operations reduce costs. Now, airlines and pilots and controllers can exchange real-time, secure communications at the same speed as they do on the ground. This drives efficiency gains in flight operations and airport operations and maintenance – potentially saving billions of dollars industry-wide.

Operational efficiency and safety benefits

Fuel and CO2 savings are a key advantage. Flight optimisation and trajectory-based operations are enabled through SB-S’s broadband platform. Real-time high-resolution weather can be reliably and cost-effectively received on the aircraft for the first time, giving pilots better situational awareness and avoiding unexpected delays and turbulence encounters.

SB-S also offers better asset utilisation, with applications and services which interface to aircraft, engine and other systems enabling real-time diagnostics to take place on the ground. This means airlines can drill down into data and control the amount and type of information streamed to the ground. From this information, pre-positioning of the right parts, equipment and personnel at the gate can help keep turnaround times on schedule and asset utilisation up.

The powerful Air Traffic Services that have enabled the expansion of oceanic airspace will also be faster, stronger, and more reliable on SB-S. Increased periodic reporting reduces separation minima, unlocking airspace capacity and matching growing demand, while lightning-fast communications provide secure, reliable communications between controller and pilot.

Network safety is also assured as the SB-S mission-critical safety and operations data is securely segregated behind Inmarsat Aviation’s “virtual fortress door,” meaning the network is entirely separate from its cabin offerings. It uses advanced firewalls, encryption and the latest software security standards to keep data safe in an increasingly connected world. And flight tracking and real-time flight data streaming, also known as ‘black box in the cloud,’ provides solutions to the imminent ICAO GADSS requirements.

SB-S, then, is the key that unlocks a world of digital intelligence for airlines, transforming the role of satcom from a safety utility to an essential source of strategic value.

Putting the world at your fingertips

So how will airlines use these benefits to achieve digital transformation? Inmarsat’s SB-S comes with its own digital distribution platform – the Certified Application Partner (CAP) programme – to customise connectivity for each user.

It’s a cutting edge initiative that allows application developers to deliver their innovative operational applications on the SB-S platform, much like apps on today’s smartphones. The aim is to offer products that bring operational efficiency, flexibility and benefits to all of Inmarsat’s airline partners. As more and more developers launch applications on the programme, powerful new capabilities become available to make flying more efficient.

Grid showing SB-S apps

Live, flying, and proven

The launch of SB-S follows a successful inflight evaluation on Hawaiian Airlines’ Boeing 767-300 aircraft dating back to 2015, including installations on the airline’s entire Airbus A321neo fleet.

United Airlines and Shenzhen airlines are flying with SB-S, too, with their B767s and A320s, respectively. SB-S has also been selected by Airbus as the Light Cockpit Satcom (LCS) solution on its A320 and A330 families.

The platform is already attracting significant industry recognition. It’s undergone successful evaluation by the FAA’s Performance-Based Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) as a platform to provide direct data link communication between pilots and air traffic control (ATC). SB-S has also received the coveted 2018 Jane’s ATC Award in the Technology category.

The next generation of air traffic management

SB-S will provide the platform for Iris, a ground-breaking project with the European Space Agency (ESA) that uses satellite-based communication to enhance and modernise air traffic management over Europe. The Iris Programme supports the Single European Skies ATM Research (SESAR) masterplan to alleviate airspace congestion, reduce flight times and delays and enhance safety and security.

The programme will focus on using advanced satellite technology to improve aeronautical data link services, enabling flight plans to be updated continuously, even while aircraft are on route to their destination. This will lead to the optimisation of European airspace and airport capacity, in addition to overall reductions in flight times, fuel burn and CO2 emissions.

Robust, future-facing and available now, SB-S is setting the gold standard for operations and safety connectivity platforms.

Available Now from our Trusted Partners

SB-S is available through a global network of leading distribution partners including:

  • SITAONAIR
  • Rockwell Collins 
  • China Transport Telecommunication Information Group Company Limited (CTTIC) / Aviation Data Communication Corporation (ADCC) in China.