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The AST Group (AST) and its valued partner in Argentina, TESACOM took part in the modernisation of icebreaker Almirante Irizar with the installation of the most innovative satellite communications equipment of its kind.

The newly launched Iridium Certus service delivered via a Thales VesseLink terminal provide invaluable operational support to their customer, enabling transfer of crucially important scientific data from the remote polar bases to their vessel, the Admiral Irizar, during the Antarctic Summer Campaign.

About the customer
The icebreaker Admiral Irizar, built in 1977, is the flagship of the Argentine Antarctic Naval Force. Since 1979, has participated year after year in the supply of several Argentine Antarctic bases, until 2007, when a fire seriously damaged the systems and structures of the ship. Forced to stop operation for a major reconstruction that involved the change of approximately 600 tons of naval steel of the superstructure and deck, which took 10 years to complete.

In April 2017, the reconstruction and modernization process were completed, and the Admiral Irizar was prepared for the first Antarctic Summer Campaign in December of the same year.
 
The challenge
Mid December 2018, TESACOM commenced work on the modernization of Almirante Irizar’s ship to offshore communications to ensure it was ready for the Summer Antarctic Campaign 2019.   

The Antarctic Summer Campaign includes resupply and rotation of personnel assigned to the Argentine Antarctic outpost as well as conducting the most intense scientific activity in Antarctica and therefore requires fast, reliable communications to transfer data from the remote polar land back to their vessel.

The Argentine Antarctic Institute (IAA), a leading institution on Antarctic research, currently conducts 49 scientific projects in Antarctica, covering several areas of sciences.

The solution
Iridium Certus was the obvious choice for this project being the only network to provide reliable coverage in these remote polar regions with the ability to deliver the fast data speeds required.

The installation of a Thales VesseLink terminal provided by AST, combined with their unique INTEGRA global IP network delivering secure, high performance connectivity, as well as real-time data application control, INTEGRA Control, enables the crew onboard the Admiral Irizar a stable line of fast communications for scientific activities during the campaign.
 
"After witnessing the easy and quick installation of the Iridium Certus Vessel Link terminal and monitoring the traffic of the crew thanks to INTEGRA, an exclusive service provided by AST, we have total confidence that the service is functional even in the most remote places of the polar latitudes. Its coverage at the poles is indispensable for the success of summer campaigns in Antarctica”, says José Jordan, Product Engineer at Tesacom. And he adds: " This user-friendly interface platform has allowed a more complete monitoring of traffic in real time, which makes it possible to identify the highest data consumption at the application level, giving the client the opportunity to improve the management of airtime".

Viviana Fonseca, CEO of Grupo Tesacom, says: "We are proud to be accompanying the Irizar for 10 years, providing cutting-edge services worldwide, with a level of quality so that they can have greater benefits." And she adds: "On Antarctic Day, 22 Feb 2019, we celebrate 115 years of uninterrupted Argentine permanence in Antarctica.  We are delighted to share the celebration with the ARA Admiral Irizar along with the success of the campaigns to date predicting even greater growth in the years to come."

Key benefits of Iridium Certus and the AST proposition   

  • Reliable global coverage (voice & data)
  • Data speeds of up to 704 kbps
  • High quality voice
  • Flexible, affordable airtime plans
  • Integrates with IRIS, Location Based Service, allowing real-time ship tracking via web portal (Thales only)
  • Works with INTEGRA, AST’s complete solution that delivers real-time application control
  • GMDSS compliant