Release

Airservices marks a decade of satellite surveillance technology

11 Dec 2014

December marks the 10th anniversary of Automatic Dependant Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) technology for the safe and efficient separation of aircraft in Australia’s airspace, predominantly in remote areas where there is no conventional radar coverage.

Airservices was first approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) on 5 December 2004 to use ADS-B to separate aircraft equipped with the satellite-based technology while flying in airspace near Bundaberg, Queensland.

Airservices has since become the first in the world to commission a continent-wide ADS-B system. Today Airservices has a network of 75 ADS-B ground receiver stations to support 99 per cent of all jet passenger flights using the technology. Approximately 60 per cent of all Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) aircraft flights are ADS-B equipped.

ADS-B works by a ground station receiving Global Positioning System data from suitably equipped aircraft twice every second. The data is then transmitted by satellite to Airservices air traffic service centres in Brisbane and Melbourne to provide controllers with radar-like surveillance.

Airservices Executive General Manager Air Traffic Control, Mr Greg Hood, said a decade of ADS-B in Australia reinforces the air navigation service provider as a world leader in the introduction of the surveillance technology.

“ADS-B, when coupled with other satellite-based navigation technologies, is the future of air traffic surveillance, not only in Australia, but throughout the rest of the world,” said Mr Hood. “ADS-B delivers enhanced air traffic surveillance and offers our airspace users increased levels of safety, providing them with more efficient routes, while reducing aviation’s footprint on the environment.”

Airservices has also commissioned two new ADS-B ground stations as part of its coverage enhancement program. The new ground stations, installed at Mount Tassie, East Sale, and at Mount William, in the Grampians National Park, will provide ADS-B coverage over Victoria and into Bass Strait.

Additional ground stations, to be commissioned in 2015, will improve surveillance coverage particularly for regional and general aviation operating at lower flight levels.

CASA has mandated the fitment of ADS-B equipment in all IFR aircraft flying in Australia’s airspace, at all altitudes, by 2 February 2017.

Airservices continues to urge all IFR operators to fit ADS-B sooner rather than later to avoid the fitment rush anticipated in late 2016 and to take advantage of the efficiency and safety benefits available to all flights right now.