What is SATCOM?

SATCOM stands for SATellite COMmunications and has been used for decades in the Aviation domain, among others. The use of SATCOM for Aeronautical Mobile Satellite Services (AMSS) to enable Air Traffic Management (ATM) operations was in the past limited to oceanic and remote airspace. Thanks to Iris, SATCOM has become an essential enabler for current and future ATM operations also in continental high density traffic airspace, such as ATC data link communications and ‘4D Trajectory-Based' operations (TBO), being an integral part in the Future Communications Infrastructure (FCI).

The SATCOM systems can be classified into following the classes of SATCOM performance being defined by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), representing different generations and with increasingly stringent performance requirements:

  • SATCOM Performance Class A. Reserved for future use to cover evolution of SATCOM technologies towards supporting new requirements for high-performance communication services.
  • SATCOM Performance Class B. The requirements for data (Aeronautical Telecommunications Network using ISO/OSI standards (ATN/OSI ) or using IPS standards (ATN/IPS)) and voice services, with more stringent performance requirements compared to Class C, supporting operational environments with high density traffic.
  • SATCOM Performance Class C. The requirements applicable to certain oceanic and remote airspace.

Today Iris service corresponds to SATCOM Performance Class B for ATN/OSI data services. In the future Iris is planned to enable support of new services.