DN - Defence Notes

WAEA: There?s an Aura around Starling and EMS Technologies

11th September 2008 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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THE collaboration between Israeli Ku-band antenna supplier Starling and EMS Technologies announced at the beginning of the year has come to fruition here in the shape of the newly unveiled and rebranded Aura range of products.

The Aura family includes three two-way Ku-band systems based on Starling's existing MIJET family of low-profile mechanically steered phased-array systems - the original MIJET for long-haul airliners, mini-MIJET for business aircraft and MIJETLite for narrowbody airliners. In their Aura guise the antennas combine Starling's phased array and radio-frequency elements with an EMS positioner to physically tilt and rotate the array.

Starling has long wanted a US partner to help with manufacturing, marketing and sales in order to crack the North American airline market. In EMS Technologies it has found a collaborator that knows the sector well through 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 single-panel Aura 1P-A is designed as a lightweight, low-profile package to meet the needs of regional carriers. Aura 1P-B antenna system also has a single panel, but shaped differently to offer greater performance for regional and international carriers. Both are still in development. The larger, three-panel Aura 3P offers the maximum in data rates for regional and worldwide carriers. It is fully developed and commercially available.

"Our relationship with EMS is designed to maximise our chances of success in the request-for-proposal processes currently being run by a number of broadband service providers," says Starling sales and marketing VP Jacob Keret. "We see 2009 as a pivotal year for us in terms of winning customers, whether directly or through EMS."

Also included in the range are the Aura DBS 2.5 and DBS 3.0 for inflight TV receive-only operation with direct-broadcast satellites. With more than 250 units in service with LiveTV's airline customers, the DBS Auras allow passengers to access up 150 video channels from their seatbacks.

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