High-Speed L-Band Helps Argentine Navy Yacht Compete

Image courtesy Iridium

Published Apr 2, 2020 4:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Argentine Navy sailing yacht Fortuna III recently finished first in the XXVI Oceanic Regatta Buenos Aires - Rio de Janeiro 2020 race using weather applications and nautical charts delivered by high-speed L-band. 

To support the race, Globalsat Argentina installed a Thales L-band terminal that allowed the crew of the Fortuna III to access data connections at up to 704 kbps - high speed for a non-VSAT arrangement. “Being able to visualize, in the context of a competition, constant and real-time updates of meteorological information, nautical charts and positions of the other competitors was decisive for the achievement of the result we obtained," said Argentine Navy's Luis Sgrilletti, Captain and Commander of Fortune III.

The fast connectivity also enabled the crew to share pictures and video, and to maintain permanent communications with their shoreside team. 

"With the newly upgraded Iridium Certus 700 service, the crew of the Fortuna III had access to the fastest weather resilient L-band connectivity the maritime industry has ever known,” says Iridium EVP of sales and marketing Bryan Hartin. “We are proud of our partner Globalsat for supporting the Argentine Navy, ensuring the Fortuna III crew’s safety and helping them achieve victory.”

Current Iridium Certus speeds are available between 22 kbps and 704 kbps, and planned future upgrades will increase the maximum to 1.4 mbps. While this is lower than the top speeds available with modern VSAT services, the L-band connection is less vulnerable to interruption in foul weather, and the low-earth-orbit Iridium constellation has full pole-to-pole coverage. Additionally, the Thales terminal for Iridium has no gimbals or moving parts, measures only 12 inces in diameter and weighs seven pounds. 

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.