Harris, Iridium Launch Aircraft Tracker Tech JV; Don Thoma Comments

Don Thoma
Don Thoma

Harris Corp. and Iridium Communications have formed a joint venture to develop a new satellite-mounted aircraft tracker for the airline industry and potentially the U.S. military as well.

Aireon LLC will install high-end sensors on 66 new Iridium NEXT satellites to track aircraft in transatlantic routes starting in 2015 and aim to save airlines save about $450 on fuel for every flight, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Don Thoma, president and chief executive of Aireon, told Reuters the joint venture formed a hosted payload deal that builds on existing investments from airlines worldwide, Iridium and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

He said Iridium selected Harris as partner for the venture because to its special sensor technology currently used for satellites orbiting the earth about 4.5 miles above.

Bill Gattle, Harris vice president of aerospace, told Reuters the new payload embedded to the Iridium satellites can accommodate three additional sensors.

Aireon plans to sell the tracking system to NAV CANADA, FAA and other air traffic control agencies worldwide, Reuters reported.

Reuters reported Wednesday.

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