completed a two-day demonstration of automatic dependence surveillance broadcast
(ADS-B) technology in the Caucasus region, air traffic management specialists
are hoping to extend their work to areas including Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
Southern Ring Air Routes demonstrations – which took place in Georgia and
Azerbaijan – aimed to illustrate the potential of ADS-B to replace radar
surveillance and improve air traffic safety in a region where air navigation
infrastructure is often inadequate.
the Tbilisi area control centre has recently been upgraded, Georgia still has
only two en-route radars for the whole country.
CAA deputy director Zurab Belkania adds: “Mountains do not allow us to perform
[radar] surveillance over our territory. It is not possible to have full radar
says that the terrain also causes communication problems with low altitude
aircraft and that the CAA has launched search and rescue operations
unnecessarily as a result.
would allow us to solve these problems,” he says.
Southern Ring states comprise nine former Soviet Republics plus Mongolia.
European Union (EU) funding is behind the €1.9 million Southern Ring programme
and Swedish CAA subsidiary Swedavia, which led development of the ADS-B datalink
technology used in the demonstration, is trying to persuade the EU to maintain
support for the project.
CNS/ATM project director Sture Ericsson says there are several reasons why the
Caucasus region could benefit from ADS-B.
existing infrastructure is not good. And because of these country’s financial
situation they cannot afford to buy expensive air traffic control equipment,”
he states. “Some places do not have power in remote regions to drive radar –
but an ADS-B ground station is inexpensive and could run on solar power.”
demonstration also aimed to show that the Russian-built aircraft used by many
Southern Ring airlines could easily be adapted to carry ADS-B equipment.
Georgian Airlines aircraft – a Tupolev Tu-154 and Tu-134 – as well as two
Azerbaijan Airlines Mil Mi-8 helicopters from the Zabrat helicopter base
outside Baku took part in the demonstration. The demonstration team is also
planning to equip a Yakovlev Yak-40 with the system.
demonstration itself comprised a surface guidance and taxiing test, followed by
airborne surveillance tests, which involved tracking both Tupolev aircraft as
they flew an extended circuit through upper airspace over eastern Georgia.
During the second part of the demonstration the Georgian Airlines aircraft
conducted a flight between Tbilisi and Baku during which observers onboard
could monitor the movement of the Azerbaijani helicopters operating to the oil
platforms in the Caspian Sea.
CAA chairman Giorgi Nijaradze says: “We see this project as a step on the path
of the development of civil aviation, and we hope the next step will be in the
direction of Asia.”
the Southern Ring programme officially ends in June this year the team is
looking to extend ADS-B coverage to Kazakhstan.
Air Navigation Service development department head Elkhan Nakhmedov – who
represents the ten Southern Ring states for this project – says Kazakhstan’s
vast area would make it an ideal candidate for ADS-B implementation.
says: “We already have a proposal for an ADS-B ground station in Kazakhstan.”
he admits to being concerned over the collaborative programme’s future, adding:
“I am afraid that if this [Southern Ring] project is not pushed somehow, then
it will all come down. There won’t be any joint action or co-operation, and I
am afraid of losing this.”
says that the team “is hoping to perform another demonstration in Mongolia”.
Mongolia’s modernised Ulaanbataar air traffic centre is already capable of
conducting ADS-C, whereby controllers specifically contract an aircraft to
downlink its position and other data. However the ADS-C service is used only to
support procedural operations and Mongolian CAA technical development division
officer Puntsag Ganbaatar says that an upgrade to ADS-B could provide “better
quality and safety” for traffic monitoring in Mongolian airspace.
ATI acknowledges the
assistance of British Mediterranean Airways (BMA) in visiting the Southern Ring
states. BMA serves Baku, Bishkek, Tbilisi and Yerevan from London.