QEST teams with Tecom to tackle Ku-band antenna market
GERMANY’S QEST has become the second aspiring aero satcoms antenna supplier this year to take a US partner in its campaign to break into the Ku-band broadband market.
Based at Holzgerlingen in southern Germany, QEST first came to the attention of the industry when it unveiled a unique, highly compact dual L/Ku-band design at the WAEA show in Toronto a year ago. Such a solution exploits the high bandwidth of Ku-band to deliver large volumes of data to the aircraft, while using available L-band capacity such as Inmarsat to send smaller volumes of reply traffic in the opposite direction.
It has now teamed with Californian-headquartered Tecom Industries, an established supplier of Inmarsat L-band antennas, to bring its ideas to the hotly contested Ku-band market. This already contains players such as AeroSat (supplier to service provider Row 44), ViaSat (supplying ARINC/Rockwell Collins SKYLink/eXchange) and Israel’s Starling.
Earlier this year the last joined forces with Georgia-based EMS Technologies’ Defence and Space Systems division to develop a new antenna to add to its existing but still applicationless MIJET, MiniMIJET and MIJETLite. Starling had been looking for a US partner for some time to help with manufacturing, marketing and sales in order to crack the North American airline market. In EMS Technologies it found a collaborator that knows the sector well though its agreements to supply Ku-band receive-only antennas for the LiveTV inflight television service offered by JetBlue and a number of other carriers.
The newly announced QEST/Tecom tie-up envisages collaboration at the engineering development level. According to yesterday’s announcement, the German company will provide core RF components such as the antenna aperture and signal processing modules, with Tecom responsible for overall systems engineering, antenna positioning and control subsystems, product qualification and certification, and after-sales support.
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