Inmarsat partners with Airbus to deliver ground-breaking transformation of Global Xpress network

LONDON: Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, announces that Airbus Defence & Space (Airbus) has been selected as its satellite manufacturing partner as part of a ground-breaking development of its Global Xpress (GX) network.

The partnership will provide a step-change in GX’s capabilities, capacity and agility for the benefit of existing and future Inmarsat customers, partners and investors.

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of the next phase of GX’s evolution, enhancing global mobile broadband coverage with a transformation in network capacity and service capability. This transformation, together with the unparalleled agility of the next-generation satellites, will ensure GX remains at the forefront of innovation for the benefit of customers and partners.

This contract with Airbus is for the manufacture of three next-generation GX satellites (GX7, 8 & 9), with the first scheduled to launch in H1 2023.   The level of capital expenditure under this programme is in line with that provided for in our long term planning. As such, there is no change to our overall capex guidance on the back of today’s announcement.

This new satellite programme will transform Inmarsat’s global network, providing unprecedented agility in space segment deployment, as well as an enhanced ability to adopt and integrate future technology innovation and disruption to the GX product line.

The new GX technology will be compatible with existing terminals, allowing Inmarsat customers to benefit seamlessly from this and future service enhancements. Through regular upgrades by Inmarsat to the GX network capabilities and features, customers will be able to take advantage of future technology innovation.

A clear advantage of the Airbus production line approach is the accelerated satellite deployment capability. This capability, together with Inmarsat’s well-established GX customer base, will ensure that new capacity can be quickly and accurately matched to demand, leading to a better outcome for customers and a lower risk infrastructure investment programme.

Rupert Pearce, Chief Executive Officer, Inmarsat said:  “On its launch in 2010, Global Xpress revolutionised satellite telecommunications and, even in 2019, GX remains the world’s only truly seamless global mobile broadband network. As such, I am delighted today to announce the next steps in GX’s development, in partnership with Airbus, which will ensure that our customers continue to benefit from GX’s ground-breaking technology and capabilities for many years to come.

“Worldwide demand for mobile broadband connectivity has grown exponentially in recent years and we expect this trend to continue. This next phase in the evolution of our GX network provides a dynamic and powerful answer to the challenges created by this growth in demand, building on the strong foundations we have already established”.

Airbus’ Head of Space Systems, Nicolas Chamussy said: “We are launching the Onesat product line for our customer Inmarsat, following the successes of the Airbus-built Inmarsat-4 spacecraft, Alphasat and the Inmarsat-6 satellites, currently under construction. This latest contract continues the long standing innovation relationship between Airbus and Inmarsat. Onesat is a truly disruptive product, both from a manufacturing and operational point of view, which allows Airbus to offer our customer a market enabling solution with reduced cost and time to orbit.”

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