Europe has agreed on the objectives of a programme to introduce automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast (ADS-B) across the European Union member states and beyond. A meeting at Eurocontrol's Brussels headquarters on 4 July brought together all the stakeholders in the programme, including the European Commission, and they agreed on the principles that must be emodied in a draft implementing rule that is expected to be published for consultation by the second quarter of 2008, according to agency experts who took part.

Publication of the draft rule would be followed by a consultation period, and publication of the mandated programe for implementing air traffic management surveillance by ADS-B is expected in the first half of 2009. Europe's target is full user compliance by 2015, with a progressive increase in voluntary participation before then. Eurocontrol is already working with a number of "pioneer" carriers equipped with ADS-B extended squitter transponders.

Agreement at the meeting may have been a significant step toward Europe's future ATM surveillance system, but it was not a surprise because a Eurocontrol survey of all affected industry players had already established that 70% of airlines were in favour of ADS-B, according to Eurocontrol's CASCADE programme manager Alex Wandels. CASCADE is Eurocontrol's programme for developing and coordinating datalinking strategies. The agreed international standard, certain to be reflected in the European draft rule, is based on 1096MHz ADS-B extended squitter (1090ES) transponders linked to an onboard global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver so aircraft can automatically transmit their accurate position, identification and other data.

Wandels says 80% of carriers using Paris airports - where one of many ADS-B ground stations is located - are equipped with 1090ES, but the equipment only has trial status at present and is not certificated. During the equipment trials and certification programmes between now and 2015, he explains, equipment will improve and experience will determine what data should be exchanged via ADS-B.

The International Air Transport Association has approved the 1090ES standard for 100% airborne equippage of "ADS-B out" - the category that allows ATM surveillance - by 2015. Many will also have "ADS-B in" that will enable aircraft to exchange position data so pilots have a traffic situational awareness picture better than airborne collision avoidance systems can provide.

Meanwhile, four key air navigation service provision agencies are forcing the global pace on standards: Eurocontrol, the US Federal Aviation Administration, Nav Canada and Airservices Australia. The FAA expects to award contracts to ADS-B vendors in August.

Source: Flight International