Thales joins previously announced partners Cobham SATCOM, Rockwell Collins, L-3, and ICG (International Communications Group). They will be involved in the design, manufacture and distribution of products for Certus, the L-band satellite broadband service that will be delivered by the Iridium NEXT constellation.
"We are excited to welcome Thales as a partner developing solutions for the Iridium Certus broadband platform," said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium.
"Leading manufacturers such as Thales will drive innovation and inspire a greater diversity of solutions to the industry. The products based on Iridium Certus broadband will provide critical and reliable communications for people and companies globally."
Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture of Thales Group and Finmeccanica Group, has been involved in the development of the space segment of Iridium NEXT. It is contracted to build the 81 Main Mission Antennas (MMAs) that will be deployed across the constellation, made up of 66 LEO operational satellites, six in-orbit spares, and nine ground-backup spacecraft.
Iridium NEXT will fully replace Iridium’s current satellite constellation of 66 cross-linked low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites that cover 100 per cent of the globe. When deployment is completed, Iridium says it will support data speeds as high as 1.4 megabits per second for a single user terminal.
"Iridium Certus broadband is a huge leap forward for the industry,” said Alan Pellegrini, president and CEO, Thales USA.
“It will deliver unmatched mobile satellite services globally for commercial and government users. We're extremely pleased to expand our relationship with Iridium and to have the opportunity to develop and bring to market new and innovative solutions for land, maritime and aeronautic applications allowing Thales to leverage its presence in every market segment."