While ?ecivilian?f air carriers have backed-off temporarily from their aim of providing inflight communication facilities for passengers, Boeing has been awarded a $112 million dollar indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to provide upgrade and subscription support for the C-32A Mission Communications System for the US Air Force.
The upgrades will use the revolutionary Connexion by Boeing airborne broadband communication service, with all work scheduled to be completed by September 2003. The C-32A is a specially configured Boeing 757-200 for the USAF. The aircraft provides safe, reliable worldwide airlift for the Vice President, cabinet members and other government officials. Four C-32As are currently in service.
“We are extremely pleased with this contract award and the opportunity to showcase the productivity benefits that commercial broadband communication technologies can provide to our government customers,” stated Connexion by Boeing President Scott Carson. “Current world events have heightened the need for global leaders and executive aircraft operators to maintain real-time, two-way broadband connectivity while in the air, as well as stay abreast of world news as it happens—not after the fact. The Connexion by Boeing service can offer significant support in all these areas.”
Under the terms of the modification contract, Boeing will equip up to four C-32A aircraft with an integrated, two-way communications capability using the satellite-based Connexion by Boeing broadband Internet and data service. At this time $9.5 million of the funds have been obligated. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to the maximum amount indicated, although actual requirements may necessitate less than this amount. The Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is overseeing all contracting activity.
Connexion by Boeing is the market-leading initiative to bring commercial broadband data services to commercial and executive aircraft during flight, allowing passengers to have access to e-mail, the Internet, firewall-protected intranet access, e-commerce, television, news and entertainment content and transmission and receipt of data. Aircraft operators also benefit from in-flight access to aircraft and crew data. Boeing is also studying the potential applicability of the Connexion broadband in-flight data services for enhancing aviation security.
The Connexion by Boeing service is currently available to the executive services market in the U.S., which includes operators of private and government aircraft. Connexion by Boeing also remains on track with Lufthansa to equip its long-haul fleet beginning with a demonstration installation in late 2002/early 2003.