PARIS — Satellite ground terminal manufacturer iDirect will provide network hardware for mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat’s Global Xpress mobile broadband service under a $60 million contract that London-based Inmarsat announced Feb. 18.

Under the contract, Herndon, Va.-based iDirect, which in the past decade has become a major player in the global market for small satellite terminals for fixed services, will design and build the network infrastructure for Global Xpress. It also will provide modules designed to be fitted onto satellite terminals used by Global Xpress maritime, aeronautical and military/government customers, Inmarsat said.

Global Xpress is a planned constellation of three Ka-band satellites spaced evenly along the geostationary arc over the equator to provide global coverage except for at the poles. The $1.2 billion project, for which Boeing is building the satellites, will use both military and civil/commercial Ka-band spectrum to deliver up to 50 megabits per second of downlink to 60-centimeter-diameter terminals. The U.S. Defense Department and other military customers are expected to be major users of the bandwidth alongside the commercial aeronautical and maritime markets.

Global Xpress is scheduled to be in service by 2014 and will co-exist with Inmarsat’s heritage L-band mobile communications satellites.

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.