Honeywell improves GBAS capabilities

Honeywell Aerospace has launched the third software generation of its SmartPath Ground-Based Augmentation System following certification by the United States Federal Aviation Administration.
The new software upgrades further enhance precise satellite-guided flight navigation that can increase airport capacity while improving the safety and fuel efficiency of aircraft during approach, landing and take-off.
International airlines, airports and air navigation service providers will benefit from the latest features of SmartPath Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS), which since 2009 has been the only FAA-certified solution of its kind.
The software updates (referred to as Block II) will enable airlines and airports to achieve more benefits from Honeywell’s SmartPath by improving the availability of the system even where GPS signals are negatively impacted by unique weather conditions, primarily at low latitudes.
This software version lets users configure the system to optimise its availability based on their unique environment, anywhere around the world. It also offers air traffic controllers an increased number of approaches to the airport, from 26 to 48 per station, enhancing their flexibility to maximise airport efficiency.
“Embracing digital navigation technologies such as GBAS is a priority for airports and airlines as passenger and cargo operations rise, increasing the strain on air traffic management systems,” said Mike Underwood, director of business development at Honeywell Aerospace. “With the latest software updates, customers can better mitigate weather-related delays when approaching the runway, allowing for a safer and more efficient approach and landing.”
In addition to the Block II software update, Honeywell’s SmartPath GBAS will also come with an optional Block II-S upgrade, which integrates another form of GPS augmentation, called Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS). Block II-S takes advantage of the SBAS’ regional view to mitigate GPS errors not detectable at the airport level, improving the performance of GBAS.
Along with supporting operational enhancements such as extending service volumes and further improving availability, the Block II-S upgrade is expected to support specially authorised Category II operations, without the need for any changes to Category I equipment on the aircraft. Block II is a software-only update and Block II-S is a simple hardware update to add an SBAS-capable GPS receiver and antenna to the system.
Honeywell SmartPath is the only GBAS to be certified by the FAA, and has been installed at more than 15 airports around the world, including Chennai, Frankfurt, Houston, Newark, Shanghai and Sydney. Honeywell’s experience deploying GBAS has paved the way for numerous technical improvements to offer the industry’s highest availability while also applying lessons learned from previous implementations to minimize programmatic risk. This substantially reduces the cost to air navigation service providers associated with implementing GBAS. These upgrades will be available to new and existing customers in the last quarter of 2015.
Honeywell’s SmartPath will also be enhanced by Honeywell’s latest Integrated Multi-Mode Receiver (IMMR) navigation receiver, the industry’s only all-digital navigation radio that integrates multiple navigation functions into a single receiver. IMMR reduces size and weight up to 50 per cent compared with current solutions. It is designed with future growth in mind and will support safe and successful GBAS Category II and III approaches and landings that enable pilots to fly and land aircraft in poor weather conditions and low visibility.