Emma Kelly/LONDON

Airservices Australia has issued a tender for the provision of equipment for an automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) trial to be conducted in the Burnett Basin around Bundaberg, Queensland, in the third quarter of next year.

Australia's air traffic services provider initially wanted 17 regional and general aviation (GA) aircraft to test ADS-B equipment during the trial ahead of a decision on whether to deploy the technology across the rest of the country.

Flight West Airlines will equip British Aerospace Jetstream 32s for the trial, and Sunstate Airlines will outfit Bombardier Dash 8s and Shorts 360-300s. The GA aircraft to be equipped include a Whittaker Air Britten-Norman Islander and a Cessna Caravan 208, while the Queensland Ambulance Service will outfit a Cessna 404 and 414, the Sunshine Flying Academy will equip a Cessna 182 and 172, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service will operate an ADS-B-equipped Raytheon Beech King Air.

The trial could pave the way for 10,000-plus general aviation aircraft in the country being equipped with ADS-B transponders, followed by commercial aircraft.

The trial's objective is to demonstrate "real operational benefits to operators in the Burnett Basin region, and to build knowledge in Australia regarding ADS-B", says Airservices Australia's tender document issued last month. The closing date for bids is 14 June.

The tender calls for the provision, installation, testing and commissioning of ADS-B avionics; training aircraft operators to use and maintain the avionics; provision and installation of an ADS-B ground station; and assisting Airservices in preparing an ADS-B safety case.

The first aircraft is due to be equipped by November and the ground station site acceptance is due by next February.

The ADS-B equipment will be required to provide radar-like surveillance separation services, with the ground station to be connected to the Australian Advanced Air Traffic System for onward display to air traffic controllers.

Airservices Australia has not specified the ADS-B link technology, which could be a VDL Mode 4, Mode S squitter or universal access transceiver (UAT) link. Candidate link technology selection will be based on information provided by bidders.

Australia's ADS-B project is the latest in a number of worldwide operational trials of the technology. Others include the pioneering programmes of the 1990s led by Scandinavian Airlines, Lufthansa and the civil aviation authorities of Germany and Sweden, the current US Cargo Airlines Association-led ADS-B trials in the USA and the ongoing Southern Ring Air Routes project in ex-Soviet Union states and Mongolia.

Source: Flight International