MLF - Military Logistics

New ATC handed over to German Air Force authority

3rd April 2014 - 14:39 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


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An air traffic control (ATC) network featuring a Mode-S-based cluster that has been operating under a five year observation period for the flight safety branch of the German Air Force has been officially handed over to the customer by Airbus Defence and Space (D&S).

As part of Project Ramos, this is the first ATC network to feature the ‘Eurocontrol’ standard Mode-S cluster, which guarantees the automatic guidance of civil and military aircraft in an area of 1,700 x 1,500 km. According to Airbus D&S, this increases flight safety and improves the efficient utilisation of airspace. 

Under Project Ramos, Airbus D&S Electronics equipped six long-range surveillance radars with Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR) 2000 I secondary radar systems. These secondary radars provide an overview of the air situation based on interrogations and automatic replies from individual aircraft. MSSR 2000 I is the only secondary radar certified according to the latest air traffic control standards, both civil and military.

The MSSR 2000 I systems establish a Mode S Cluster which is safely guiding all aircraft in the area. Within this area, each individual aircraft equipped with a Mode S transponder can be identified and tracked automatically without the necessity of individual radar target acquisition, enabled by autonomous target data handover from one radar station to the other.

Airbus said this avoids the risk of single tracks getting lost while handing over from one air traffic control cell to another. Additionally, the cluster allocates air traffic control tasks automatically; so that if one secondary radar fails, others within the cluster take over immediately.

In the military field, MSSR 2000 I is used for automatic friend-or-foe identification (IFF). It is capable of the new Mode 5 military standard which is to be introduced in all Nato countries. MSSR 2000 I is deployed on German naval vessels and used by the armed and naval forces of numerous states worldwide.

Thomas Müller, head of Airbus D&S Electronics, said: ‘Air traffic control authorities all over the world are faced with continually increasing air traffic density. Together with military air traffic, this situation requires a high-performance guidance system ensuring safety, comprehensive data exchange and efficient allocation of airspace.’

With the handover of the first system to the in-service support the initial procurement project is concluded. Two more Mode S based clusters are already operational and in the observation phase.

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