A310 MRTT multi-role tanker transport aircraft with Get SAT ESA installed

Airbus successfully flight tests Get SAT antenna for HBCplus


Airbus has successfully flight-tested the Ku-band version of its supplier-furnished Airspace Link HBCplus terminal on an A310 MRTT multi-role tanker transport aircraft, with the goal of offering linefit installs of the multi-orbit-capable inflight connectivity system to airlines in 2026.

In a statement on LinkedIn, Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI), which is supplying the terminal to Airbus based on antenna-maker Get SAT’s LESA Ku-band electronically steered antenna (ESA), said:

Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI), Get SAT, and Airbus are proud to announce that a successful test flight was performed by Airbus utilizing the Get SAT LESA technology on operational Ku-band satellites. The team looks forward to the continued development of the system and follow-on introduction into Airbus production.

Benjamin Valleau, who serves as maintenance & material service marketing director at Airbus, added on LinkedIn that the airframer performed the flight test to confirm the Get SAT antenna’s performance “in the environmental conditions (temperature and vibration) on a fuselage during a typical flight”.

Airbus’ groundbreaking HBCplus catalogue option for inflight connectivity has been making waves since the Ka-band side of the programme was first announced in 2022, with Inmarsat-now-Viasat and later SES named as Ka-band managed service providers (MSPs).

During the 2023 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Airbus added Intelsat and Panasonic Avionics as Ku-band MSPs under memorandums of understanding with each company. It firmed up those agreements last fall at the APEX EXPO in Long Beach, California.

SPI is providing terminals for both the Ka- and the Ku-band sides of the programme, basing the Ka version on ThinKom Solutions’ already-in-service Ka2517 VICTS hardware, and the Ku version on Get SAT’s new dual-beam ESA. Both antennas are categorized as Type 4 by the Seamless Air Alliance: hybrid with full geostationary (GEO) satellite coverage.

Gilat’s Wavestream subsidiary will develop, qualify, and produce for SPI a new line of Ku-band Power Supply Unit (KPSU) products to support the Ku-band ESA, Gilat announced this week.


HBCplus allows participating airlines to switch bandwidth suppliers without changing the linefit (or approved retrofit package for) inflight connectivity hardware on their aircraft.

With Airbus providing the broadband connectivity kit — and related services — as linefit supplier furnished equipment to airlines, the airframer effectively considers the certified terminal and radome to be part of the aircraft.

With successful flight-testing of the Ku-band ESA under its belt, Airbus is one step closer to certification. The airframer appears to be on track to make good on its stated commitment to offer SPI’s Ku-band terminal linefit starting in 2026.

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Photo credit: Airbus Defence and Space SAU 2024