Insight | Dedication to solving “hard problems” drives Orbit


Dedication to solving “hard problems” drives Orbit


In the first of a series of Value-Added Manufacturer blogs, where Inmarsat partners explain more about their hardware innovations that meets size, mission, performance and budget requirements, we catch up with Tuomo Rutanen, Vice President, Sales & Business Development, North America, Orbit Communication Systems Ltd.

Orbit started out in 1950 as an electronics manufacturer in Israel. Early on, employees brought to the company considerable expertise in radio systems and radio frequency engineering, which helped us transition to aviation and maritime satellite communications (SATCOM). Today, we operate in both the United States and Israel.

Along the way, we have dedicated ourselves to a key core principle: if something is hard to do, we’ll do it. If it’s easy, someone else can do it. We’re here to solve the hard problems that people have.

This combination of expertise, work ethic and ambition has led to many successes – most recently and notably with the Orbit GX46 airborne SATCOM terminal, which we are proud to say has earned Inmarsat type approval for use over the Global Xpress network. GX46 is a modular, multi-role terminal that operates across commercial and military Ka-band through a 46 cm (18 inch) antenna, which is fully integrated with modems, electronics and software.

Enabling a wide range of communications capabilities for military aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the lightweight, small-footprint terminal brings worldwide connectivity, supporting the full range of Ka-band frequency bands through Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite coverage as well as high-capacity steerable antennas operating in the military Ka-band (mil Ka). This allows authorized military users to access reliable and highly available wideband capacity as part of their own independent network, such as the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system. The terminal is electronically switchable between systems and bands via Automatic Beam Switching (ABS) using industry-standard OpenAMIP and ROSS Open Antenna Management (ROAM) protocols, ensuring seamless operations.

Orbit GX46 multi-purpose terminal

This is our kind of “hard” challenge; we created a small form factor terminal to satisfy the low size, weight and power (SWaP) needs of military aviation customers. But GX46 also distinguishes itself with its very high performance and its ability to deliver data rates up to 210Mbps x 92Mbps in military Ka. There is increasing demand to transmit video files and data from other high-bandwidth applications off the plan, and this requires a terminal that – frankly – outperforms what has been available before. In addition to providing world class performance, we have substantially lowered the total cost of ownership (TCO) to benefit the end user.

We have worked with Inmarsat on GX46 since early 2019, and we have enjoyed a very bilateral and mutually beneficial relationship. We exchange ideas and even constructive criticisms in a free-flowing manner, because we are all determined to build the very best terminals that we can. We also maintain a “total solution” mindset, recognizing that our terminals are one part of a larger Inmarsat value chain. That is why we have stepped up to the plate to design, integrate, test and validate the GX46 so it works with Inmarsat innovations such as G-MODMAN, to support the next generation of Global Xpress aero terminals across multiple aviation platforms.

We consider the GX46 as a Swiss Army knife of terminals for its usability and full compatibility with multiple satellite systems – Global Xpress, mil-Ka and WGS. It is, indeed, solving hard problems. With Inmarsat, we have built a strong foundation upon a creative and productive collaboration along with mutual trust and respect. We both follow the same roadmap in supporting government customers, and we look forward to our future shared accomplishments.

Please contact Inmarsat to find out how terminal solutions can enhance your mission performance.

About the author

Tuomo Rutanen joined Orbit in 2020 as Vice President Sales and Business Development for Orbit North America overseeing the eco-system and business development as well as sales for all Orbit product lines.

Tuomo has been involved in the satellite and wireless communications industry throughout his 30+ year career in increasingly senior sales and business development roles in both commercial and government sectors. Tuomo has worked for satellite operators such as Hughes, Inmarsat and Iridium where his focus was around mobility and specifically the aeronautical domain and spent the earlier part of his career in building new wireless businesses for Ekahau, Sprint and Sonera focusing on GSM and Wi-Fi enterprise and OTT services. Tuomo holds a B.A. degree from Capital University in Columbus Ohio.