Satellite operator ViaSat is to provide broadband and communications services to Air Force One, claiming US government officials, including the President of the United States, will have the same level of connectivity in the air as they do in the White House.
Air Force One is not a specific airplane, but is instead the call sign for any aircraft transporting the President. The $73 million deal covers a number of Boeing C-17, C-32, C-37 and C-40 aircraft, as well as two VC-25s most commonly used at Air Force One.
The network will enable a ‘Situation Room in the Sky’, allowing officials to stream HD video for teleconferencing, surveillance and intelligence, location-based live sensor data and VoIP calls.
“ViaSat’s high-capacity global in-flight internet service ensures executive and government leaders and their teams can stay connected, informed and productive, maximizing the effectiveness of time in-flight with ‘Situation Room and Command Center’ connectivity in the sky,” said Ken Peterman, general manager, Government Systems Division, ViaSat.
“This award is a significant accomplishment and we are proud to be delivering remarkably fast data speeds and an abundance of capacity to support the in-flight communications needs of our government’s senior leadership on Air Force One and other special air mission aircraft.”
ViaSat is working on 100Mbps satellite broadband and is preparing to launch three next generation satellites that it says will have more bandwidth than all of those currently in orbit.
Boeing itself is installing in-flight Wi-Fi as a factory option for its new aircraft as connectivity becomes an important factor in air travel. Satellite technology has come leaps and bounds in terms of speed and capacity but latency remains a concern.
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