Civil Aviation Safety Authority launches programme to make radar-like surveillance system mandatory by 2009

Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has started work on the process that will mandate automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast (ADS-B) in the country's lower airspace by 2009. Launch of the work comes before a go-ahead decision for the Australian ADS-B Lower Airspace Project (LAP), which is expected later this year.

Australia already leads the world in ADS-B implementation after committing to an upper airspace ADS-B programme that will see Thales supply 57 ADS-B ground stations for 28 sites throughout the country under a A$14 million ($10 million) contract. Installation of the ground stations is due to start in June 2005 and from December of next year they will provide radar-like surveillance services above flight level 300 (30,000ft/9,150m) to aircraft equipped with ADS-B avionics (Flight International, 30 March-5 April).

National air traffic services provider Airservices Australia, which has instigated and is managing ADS-B implementation in the country, has always said it would like to extend the programme below flight level 300.

At its latest meeting, the Australian Aviation Strategic Planning Organisation's (ASTRA) ADS-B Implementation Team (ABIT) agreed that a final decision on whether to proceed with LAP must be made this year. ASTRA is the country's ATM planning group, which comprises ATM stakeholders and government agencies, including Airservices Australia, Qantas, Virgin Blue, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and CASA. Its ABIT group, including operators, Airservices Australia and suppliers, was set up to resolve any technical problems involved in ADS-B implementation.

ASTRA is considering the implementation of LAP in 2009, when Australia's en route radar network reaches the end of its service life. LAP will require all aircraft to be equipped for ADS-B, including the country's general aviation fleet. A mandate will be required for the programme, which will also need some sort of subsidy for ADS-B compliance, says ABIT. Subsidy options are now being considered, and Australian avionics manufacturer Microair Avionics has been working on the design and development of low-cost ADS-B avionics for general aviation.

To achieve the 2009 deadline, ABIT has decided the mandate process must start now, ahead of a programme go-ahead decision. CASA approved the formal project to start work on the mandate process last month. Its work is not expected to be completed before ABIT makes its decision.



Source: Flight International