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Ku/Ka Band Satellite Subcommittee

Last Updated: June 19, 2017

Chairman: Peter Lemme – Totaport

APIM 14-007: Small Form Factor Ku/Ka Band Satcom System (pdf, 135K)
APIM 16-006: Broadband Satellite System Installation and Equipment Interfaces (pdf, 92K)


Goal: The Ku-Band and Ka-Band Satcom Subcommittee is developing standards for broadband satellite system hardware and aircraft installation provisions. The objective is to define Ku-Band and Ka-Band satellite communication (satcom) equipment, installation, and necessary interfaces to aircraft systems.This activity is working closely with AGCS, NIS, and CSS. The Ku-Band system is being defined in Project Paper 791.

Scope: Ku-band and Ka-Band satcom equipment standards provide airlines with freedom of choice of their internet gateway service provider and the associated equipment, which are intended for use by airline passengers and crew. Passenger services are provided in coordination with evolving cabin system standards and In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) standards.

Ku-band and Ka-Band satcom services yield a wide variety of service offerings with dedicated equipment that would otherwise require custom installation. To enable the wide-spread use of this equipment, standards have been developed for Ku-band and Ka-Band satcom equipment hardware and electrical installation interfaces. The following standards define current technology systems:

  • ARINC Characteristic 791, Part 1: Physical Installation and Aircraft Interfaces, which defines system provisions, including LRU form factors, attachments, cooling, and inter-system wiring.
  • ARINC Characteristic 791, Part 2: Electrical Interfaces and Functional Equipment Description, which provides the interface definition of the satcom system, including any signal crossing into or out of the system.

Benefit: Ku-band and Ka-Band satellite equipment delivers internet connectivity services to airline passengers and crew, including internet, telephony, television, and so forth. Aircraft data may be collected and sent to the airline base. Standardization has simplified the Ku-band and Ka-Band satcom system definition and lowered the cost of installation of this equipment.

  • The benefit for airlines is freedom of choice in their connectivity service provider.
  • The benefit for airframe manufacturers is to reduce the amount of customization to aircraft and simplify the installation of Ku-band and Ka-Band systems. Airframe manufacturers can offer competitive solutions to meet the diverse needs of their customers.
  • The benefit for equipment suppliers is an expanding market for standardized equipment that is applicable to multiple airlines, airplane manufacturers, and models.

These benefits have been seen on both new aircraft and in many retrofit aircraft programs.


Work Program :

Future Work Program:

Supplements to ARINC 791 Part 1 and ARINC 791 Part 2 to incorporate items identified in service implementation of ARINC 791 by the suppliers, service providers, airlines, and airframe manufacturers.

Project Paper 792 to (1) Define emerging Ku-band and Ka-band Satcom components, including new antenna technologies, smaller/simpler components and installation methods; (2) Document the potential advantages and trade-offs associated with those components; and (3) Provide guidance on how to adapt ARINC 791 provisions to install them.


Current Drafts:

Draft 1 of ARINC Project Paper 792: Second-Generation Ku-Band and Ka-Band Aeronautical Mobile Satellite Earth Stations

Next Meeting Announcement:

Working Papers:

Last Meeting Report:

Ku/Ka Band Satellite Communications Subcommittee
October 19-21, 2016, in Chicago, Illinois

Staff Contact

Tom Munns
thomas.munns@sae-itc.org
240.334.2577