Sierra Nevada selects ThinKom's SATCOM tech for its RAPCON-X aircraft

March 15, 2023
The phased-array antenna can interoperate with satellites in geostationary (GEO) and non-geostationary (NGSO) orbits on the Bombardier Global 6500-derived aircraft.

HAWTHORNE, Calif. - The Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) in Sparks, Nev. needed a satellite communications (SATCOM) system for the company's new RAPCON-X commercial derivative aircraft. They selected ThinKom Solutions, Inc. ThinAir Ka2517 phased-array SATCOM antenna systems. This configurable aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (AISR) platform also includes next-generation mission system and signal intelligence products for multi-domain operations. ThinKom is based in Hawthorne, Calif. 

Adding the Ka2517 as part of the solution brings efficient satellite communications to RAPCON-X. The phased-array antenna can interoperate with satellites in geostationary (GEO) and non-geostationary (NGSO) orbits, ensuring worldwide connectivity in a multi-orbit environment. This configuration is supported on the RAPCON-X by a U.S. military-compliant modem, enabling real-time, reliable, and resilient broadband transmission to and from the aircraft in flight.

Based on the Bombardier Global 6500, the RAPCON-X platform delivers range and endurance to facilitate immediate worldwide deployments within an operational envelope that enhances survivability. The low-profile radome for the Ka2517 minimizes in-flight drag, resulting in lower fuel consumption and longer time on station, further enhancing RAPCON-X’s capabilities.

The RAPCON-X program aims to reduce the time required to integrate new systems or add functions in the AISR domain. Rather than requiring a complete redesign, a modular approach allows for a unique approach to the market as a contractor-owned, contractor-operated solution. The Global 6500 base provides the space and excess electrical power to accommodate current mission equipment while allowing for substantial future growth in functionality.

The Ka2517 is based on ThinKom's Variable Inclination Continuous Transverse Stub (VICTS) phased-array technology. VICTS antennas have a record of reliability with over 33 million hours of accrued flight time and a mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) exceeding 100,000 hours. Ka2517 antennas have been providing continuous service on a range of U.S. government aircraft since 2018.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!