In 2018, Aireon will provide the first global air traffic surveillance system using a space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) network that makes it possible to extend visibility across the planet. Aireon will enable real-time transmission of ADS-B reports from equipped aircraft to Air Traffic Management (ATM) automation platforms and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) in every Flight Information Region (FIR) throughout the world.
Air Traffic Surveillance Right Now
70% of the world’s FIRs are currently uncovered by any real-time surveillance. Terrestrial surveillance systems, such as radar, land-based ADS-B and Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) are limited to line-of-sight and can be expensive to implement and maintain in remote locations. In areas such as oceans and poles where there are no other surveillance options, the ability to provide optimum flight profiles and routes is limited.
The Aireon Solution
Aireon will change this by placing ADS-B receivers on the Iridium NEXT constellation, which consists of 66 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. This space-based ADS-B receiver network will relay signals from all ADS-B equipped aircraft to controllers worldwide, allowing 100 percent global air traffic surveillance regardless of terrain, location or infrastructure and without requiring any additional surveillance infrastructure by the ANSPs or equipage by the airlines.
Full surveillance over oceanic and remote airspace will bring more efficient use of airspace, substantial fuel savings, fewer delays and significantly enhance safety over large parts of the world. Aireon’s space-based ADS-B system will allow air traffic controllers to provide airlines with increased flexibility to optimize altitudes, fly more direct routes and avoid weather interruptions which drives billions in fuel savings for airlines.
Space-based ADS-B can be used to complement existing surveillance systems, allowing ANSPs to optimize current surveillance infrastructure, reducing costs and improving reliability. Aireon’s space-based ADS-B system can also be used as a contingency surveillance layer, aimed at limiting the impact of a legacy surveillance outage or system failure.
As a turn-key surveillance solution, space-based ADS-B will allow for cost-effective, seamless and rapid implementation to meet future capacity needs and support compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Aviation System Block Upgrades (ASBU). Additionally, by providing surveillance in remote regions, new routes and a multitude of benefits can be provided to all aviation stakeholders.