Industry expert David Lednicer, vice president of engineering at Aeromechanical Solutions, Inc., conducted a series of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses to predict the drag and incremental fuel burn for ThinKom’s Ka2517 antenna on different regional jet airframes under representative cruise conditions.
In all cases, the drag increase due to the installation of the antenna was determined to be less than 0.4 percent of the aircraft’s cruise drag, according to Lednicer’s report. As the drag of regional jets is quite low, this is a significant accomplishment, according to Lednicer.
The study used the Star-CCM+ Navier-Stokes CFD Program which allows all of the flow physics to be modeled. The regional jets evaluated in the study included Boeing 717, Embraer (ERJ-145 and ERJ-175) and Bombardier (CRJ-200, CRJ-550 and CRJ-700).
“The design of the Ka2517 has been driven by lessons learned in the design of several generations of satcom radomes. With each generation the radome shapes have been refined for lower drag, reduced aerodynamic impact on the host aircraft and improved birdstrike resistance. The smaller, lower profile antennas of the Ka2517 have enabled achievement of a new high-water mark in radome design,” said Lednicer.
“This independent analysis by a recognized industry expert confirms the feasibility for airline carriers to outfit their regional jet fleets with broadband in-flight connectivity (IFC),” said Bill Milroy, chief technical officer of ThinKom Solutions. “It’s imperative that aerodynamic drag and weight be minimized to make satellite IFC economically viable on these aircraft.”
“Adding IFC to regional fleets will enable airlines to enhance customer loyalty by offering a common IFC experience across their entire wide body, narrow body and regional fleets. Other capabilities such as uninterrupted gate-to-gate service on the tarmac and the move toward free Wi-Fi will only accelerate the deployment of IFC services throughout the airlines’ entire fleet,” Milroy added.
ThinKom’s Ka2517 phased-array antennas, currently in production, are operational on a fleet of U.S. government aircraft, with multiple commercial STC projects underway. The antennas have successfully completed in-flight demonstration tests on a range of LEO, MEO and GEO networks with fast, seamless satellite-to-satellite and constellation-to-constellation beam switching.
About ThinKom Solutions, Inc.
ThinKom Solutions, Inc. is a leading provider of innovative, highly affordable, compact broadband antennas and products for aeronautical, vehicular, user terminal, gateway, satellite and man-portable applications. The company’s primary products uniquely enable near-term worldwide availability of high-data-rate connectivity in the X-, Ku-, Ka- and Q-bands. ThinKom offers a range of reliable, proven technology solutions for the consumer, enterprise, first responder, civil, military and intelligence communities.