David Learmount/AMSTERDAM

A BRITISH TECHNOLOGY Group (BTG) system which provides airport ground-movement controllers with real-time identification of all categories of aircraft and vehicles may provide a solution to one part of the US Federal Aviation Administration's all-airport surface-traffic automation (ASTA) project, according to the manufacturer.

The firm is advocating the adoption of BTG's full airport system, known as Locating and Identifying Vehicle Equipment (LIVE), or using some of its elements to extend the capabilities of existing equipment, such as Cardion's co-operative area precision-tracking system (CAPTS) (Flight International, 28 February-5 March).

The LIVE inventor, Frans de Haan of Netherlands-based Consultair, says that it is possible that an agreement with Cardion to supplement its Mode S-based CAPTS with LIVE's Mode A capability may be signed soon. This may increase the likelihood of the LIVE system being selected to play a part in the ASTA project.

The LIVE is a multi-mode system capable of using secondary surveillance radar (SSR) modes A and C as well as the Mode S datalink. It uniquely allows aircraft transponders to be operated on the ground, using their responses to provide ground controllers with on-display identifications.

This has not previously been possible, because SSR transponders are required to be switched off during taxiing, to prevent radar overload from multi-path signals, which the LIVE's system locks out. CAPTS is a Mode S-based system, but is able to locate Mode A-equipped general-aviation aircraft using a "whisper-shout" interrogation method, similar to that used with the airborne, Mode S-based, traffic-alert and collision-avoidance system.

Source: Flight International