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ASDE-X now complete at 35 US airports

Deployment of the Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE-X) ground-movement surveillance system has been newly completed following commissioning of the last of 35 installations.

The US Federal Aviation Administration selected Sensis - now Saab Sensis - to equip 25 US airports with the system under a contract dating back to 2000. It was later expanded to 35 facilities, among them Atlanta, Denver, New York JFK and Chicago O'Hare.

ASDE-X enhances runway safety by capturing data from a variety of sources to enable air traffic controllers to detect potential safety conflicts.

The system fuses information from surface movement radar located in air traffic control towers and remote towers, multilateration sensors, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), terminal automation systems and aircraft transponders.

All these sources allow ASDE-X to determine the position and identification of aircraft and transponder-equipped vehicles on the airport surface, as well as aircraft flying within 5nm (9.25km) of the airport.

ASDE-X was first commissioned at Milwaukee's General Mitchell airport in October 2003 and the technology also serves as the surveillance infrastructure for the FAA's Runway Safety Lights Programme, which Saab Sensis is deploying at 23 US airports.

While the ASDE-X system is expensive, the manufacturer reviewed the potential of the technology to prevent accidental taxiway landings earlier this year, following an incident at Atlanta involving a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767 in October 2009.

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