UPS data link transponder certificated for company's 757s

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UPS Aviation Technologies has won a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the FAA for installation of its AT7000 Mode S data link transponder on a UPS Boeing 757 equipped with a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS).

The company has designed the AT7000 transponder to meet current and future data link requirements, including Europe’s elementary and enhanced surveillance programs and international automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) initiatives.

Last week the FAA chose the 1090MHz extended squitter (1090ES) data link standard, which is based on Mode S technology, as its future ADS-B standard for high-altitude en route operations in US airspace involving commercial jets and other large aircraft.

As a result of their common Mode S technology, UPS says the AT7000 is capable of supporting the new ADS-B applications the FAA is developing for surface and airborne traffic surveillance of aircraft.

“New airspace management processes will require Mode S transponders to perform in ways that are beyond the capabilities of many transponders currently installed on transport aircraft,” says UPS Aviation Technologies’ general manager, John Macnab. “In many cases it is more economical to replace aging equipment with the AT7000 than to upgrade older transponders. In other cases the existing transponders are incapable of being upgraded.”

European air traffic control authorities will require transport aircraft operating in Europe to equip with Mode S transponders over the next three years, to meet their elementary and enhanced surveillance program requirements. These will call for Mode S transponders to collect, process and downlink a variety of real-time aircraft data, including flight number, airspeed and rate of turn.

UPS says that in addition to its advanced ADS-B data link features the AT7000 performs all the conventional functions of a Mode S transponder, such as interrogation response to air traffic control radar and TCAS transmissions.

In its 757 installation UPS has fitted the AT7000 as part of a TCAS package that also features UPS Aviation Technologies’ AT2000 display of traffic information and multi-function display, as well as the ACSS TCAS-2000 TCAS computer.

UPS notes its AT7000 would also be able to support a transponder security function now under consideration by the FAA to make the equipment immune to tampering by potential hijackers. The AT7000 could support the function after receiving a simple software upload that UPS says it would provide to each user at no cost.