SATCOM refers to both data and voice communications via satellite. SATVOICE refers to voice communication only.
In the 1990s, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) determined that future primary long-range communications with aircraft would be by high frequency (HF) or SATCOM data link. It didn't make any provision for SATCOM Voice (SATVOICE). However, this transition to data link communications didn't happen.
HF voice communications is still a primary means of long range communication. Under ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), SATVOICE is not recognised as an acceptable means of communication for air traffic services (ATS) purposes.
Some States have allowed SATVOICE use instead of carrying a second HF communications system. This is only for when the aircraft installation and ground segments of the system meet certain performance standards. These must provide a level of assurance that the system will perform at an acceptable level.
ICAO recognises SATVOICE as a valid means of communication. Satellite Voice Guidance Material (SVGM) has been developed and approved by the:
- ICAO Asia/Pacific Air Navigation Planning and Implementation Regional Planning Group (APANPIRG)
- North Atlantic Systems Planning Group (NAT SPG).
Status in Australia
SATVOICE is not authorised for ATS use in Australia. This is because the Airservices Australia communications infrastructure does not support SATVOICE operations. SATVOICE won't be available for ATS use in Australia for the foreseeable future. The exception is where provided for in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP).
SATVOICE in North Atlantic High Level Airspace (NAT HLA) is permitted when authorised by CASA.
Further information on use of SATVOICE in NAT Doc 007 – North Atlantic Operations and Airspace Manual.