Viasat airborne antennas ready for any Ka-band satellite network

Viasat G-12L and G-18L antennas offer exceptional flexibility for government and commercial users


With the modification of two of Viasat’s airborne antennas to now work across all sovereign Ka-band networks, the company has created a highly flexible terminal for all types of users. The G-12L and G-18L Ka-band network airborne antennas are now able to connect across any geosynchronous orbit (GEO), medium earth orbit (MEO), low earth orbit (LEO) or high earth orbit (HEO) satellite network at Ka-band. They can also switch between any two satellites in less than a second.

The antennas are the first 12” and 18” class of antennas in the industry to support the whole Ka-band ITU and Ka-band MIL spectrum. They offer built-in flexibility across polarizations and are compatible with all current and future Ka-band satellite networks.

“With these antennas, customers gain significant flexibility to switch to any Ka-band network without having to swap out antennas,” said Kent Leka, vice president and general manager, Antenna Systems, Viasat. “They were designed for high-reliability aircraft and large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), but they also work great for maritime and land mobile platforms.”

Leka added that the G-12L and G-18L antennas enable global broadband connectivity services for both commercial and government users.

“Our customers want speed in data transmission, and these antennas are capable of delivering the industry’s highest in-flight connectivity data speeds while operating with any modem or satellite network,” he added. “That kind of flexibility really streamlines the ability to maximize different networks in different orbits for super reliable and resilient connectivity.”

A few technical details

Building on the success of predecessor antennas, the G-12L and G-18L Ka-band satellite antennas are two-axis, steerable, two-way, full Ka-band, 12” and 18” parabolic reflector antennas with integrated Radio Frequency (RF) electronics and antenna control unit (ACU) for tail or fuselage mount. Each provides an L-band intermediate frequency (IF) and Modified OpenAMIP interface, which makes it compatible with any standard interface modem, and which is needed to offer flexibiliy to switch to any Ka-band network. Given that the low noise amplifiers (LNAs), solid state power amplifier (SSPA), up/downconverters, and ACU are all highly integrated in both antennas, there are fewer Line Replaceable Units (LRUs). Finally, the Viasat G-12L and G-18L only require an airborne power supply unit (APSU) and modem LRUs to complete the terminal, which means aviation customers gain more physical in-cabin aircraft space, lowering Size, Weight, and Power, and Cost (SWaP-C).

The G-12L and G-18L antennas will be on display at this year’s Satellite 2022 Conference & Exhibition in Washington, D.C.