Airservices examining space-based ADS-B

Airservices Australia is to assess the concept of Aireon’s space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) solution through the signing of a memorandum of agreeement .

Aireon’s space-based ADS-B system will be the first 100 per cent global air traffic surveillance solution and will enable real-time air traffic surveillance anywhere in the world, including full coverage over oceans, mountains, remote areas and polar regions.

The Aireon ADS-B solution will facilitate smooth transition with neighbouring Flight Information Regions (FIR) while also lowering ground infrastructure costs, reducing costs to airlines and improving airspace safety. The solution, using ADS-B receivers launching as part of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, is expected to be operative by 2018.

Airservices Australia manages air traffic control, aviation rescue and air navigation services for over 20 million square nautical miles (51.7million sqkm) of airspace. This includes commanding air traffic operations for over 90 million passengers on more than four million flights every year.

Airservices has been operationally separating aircraft with ADS-B for a decade and became the first ANSP to commission a continent-wide ADS-B system. It now has more than 60 per cent of Australia-based aircraft IFR flights ADS-B equipped. That number is slated to increase due to Australia’s safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), mandating that all IFR aircraft flying in Australia’s airspace be ADS-B equipped by February 2017.

Greg Hood, executive general manager, air traffic control, Airservices Australia said: “We are interested in examining how space-based ADS-B could potentially be used in the future and will work with Aireon to determine the potential safety benefits of the technology and efficiency benefits it may offer for our customers, especially for oceanic services and in cross-boundary coordination with our neighbours.”

“There is potential for space-based ADS-B to offer value not only to Airservices, but for all of our customer airlines, airports and search and rescue teams and we are keen to explore that in further detail.”

Currently, 99.5 per cent of all commercial flights in Australian airspace at or above 29 000 feet are done using ADS-B. More than 60 per cent of Australia-based Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) aircraft have been fitted with the technology.

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