Viasat Military-Grade Airborne SATCOM Antenna Achieves FAA Certification, Completes Air Force C-17 MACC Testing

The Global Mobile Antenna ( GMA) 5560-101, aKu-/Ka-band multi-network, multi-mode satellite communications (SATCOM ) antenna from Viasat Inc.  (NASDAQ:VSAT) in Carlsbad, Calif., has completed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) DO-160G Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment  certification process and U.S. Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) C-17 Modified Airworthiness Certification Criteria (MACC) testing.

The GMA 5560-101 is a second-generation, low-risk SATCOM antenna for medium and wide-body aircraft. Its predecessor is flying on nine different aircraft platforms for the Air Force, commercial airlines, and FMS customers.

"The GMA 5560-101 is the first SATCOM antenna to successfully complete DO-160G  certification and also pass the full suite of rigorous C-17 MACC testing, with zero gap analysis," Viasat Government Systems President Ken Peterman says. "The GMA 5560-101 provides our senior leaders and military forces with the flexibility and resiliency to communicate and operate globally on multiple government and private sector networks both now and well into the future."

The Viasat antenna has demonstrated, by completing the certification and test programs, it can provide in-flight broadband connectivity to enable advanced situational awareness, en-route mission planning, and other applications that demand high forward and return link capacity.

FAA DO-160G certification enables Viasat's GMA 5560-101 antenna to be installed on select United States Air Force and Foreign Military Sale (FMS) senior leader, VIP, and other manned and unmanned military aircraft. Passing all AFMC C-17 MACC tests demonstrates the antenna's ability to become certified for Air Force and FMS C-17 aircraft. Viasat is submitting C-17 MACC test reports for official review.

Features key to the GMA 5560-101 antenna include:

  • Delivery of a flexible architecture that is frequency- and satellite-agnostic;
  • Compatibility with existing medium earth orbit (MEO) and geostationary orbit (GEO) commercial Ku-, Ka- and MIL-Ka band satellites;
  • Access to a Hybrid Adaptive Network (HAN) that enables users to operate across different networks, government and private sector, for an end-to-end network that provides mitigation against congestion situations, intentional and unintentional interference sources, and cyber threats through implementation of layered resiliency in highly contested environments;
  • Lower total ownership costs by standardizing large multi-mission fleets; and
  • An advanced antenna solution that will be forward-compatible with next-generation high-capacity satellites, like the ViaSat-3 constellation and beyond.

Today’s military and government missions require high-throughput, reliable, secure communications that enable leaders and operators to share information anywhere within moments. Viasat arms airborne missions for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); command & control (C2), and en-route connectivity with broadband via satellite for timely delivery of data-rich content to warfighters at the edge and commanders around the world. Viasat airborne satellite communications solutions are optimized for reliable, secure two-way mobile broadband, so that airborne operators have the capability to send full-motion video, make secure phone calls, conduct video conferences, access classified networks, and perform mission-critical communications while in flight, officials say.

Viasat, a global communications company in business for more than 30 years, is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people's lives anywhere they are — on the ground, in the air or at sea.

Images courtesy Viasat.

Courtney E. Howard  is editorial director and content strategist at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group. Contact her by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..