Aireon announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS), Germany’s Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) to evaluate the safety, efficiency and cost benefits of space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) in their airspace.
DFS is one of the leading ANSPs in Europe, and controls the air traffic throughout German airspace. Like many other European ANSPs, DFS has complete air traffic surveillance coverage, including a mix of ground-based radar, ADS-B and multilateration stations. The MoA will allow DFS to evaluate options for potentially optimizing the replacement of some legacy equipment that requires expensive upkeep. In addition, they will investigate the establishment of an independent contingency service for enhanced redundancy, which can be used to have a consistent air traffic surveillance feed.
“DFS is keen to explore the potential benefits that space-based ADS-B can bring to the region. This is not only for enhanced safety, but also increased efficiency. It could provide us with another layer of surveillance in the event of an outage or interruption,” said Ralf Bertsch, Director Planning and Innovation, DFS. “We are also looking at the benefits that Aireon’s data could offer for all of Europe. This could allow us to optimize the usage of legacy ATS surveillance systems.”
“This agreement shows the willingness for leading European ANSPs to evaluate best-in-class technology that will provide increased safety and efficiency benefits,” said Cyriel Kronenburg, Vice President, Aviation Services, Aireon. “In countries like Germany, which consists of mostly terrestrial airspace, space-based air traffic surveillance can serve an extremely beneficial role as a contingency system, as well as provide cost savings on existing technologies. This is particularly true for portions of the airspace over challenging terrain. Maintaining the necessary ground stations in areas with minimal supporting infrastructure is an expensive and challenging proposition, especially when some can require round-the-clock maintenance due to age. We very much look forward to working with DFS to assist them with their analysis.”
Aireon’s space-based ADS-B service will be operational in 2018, shortly after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The constellation will consist of 66 operational low-earth-orbit satellites providing 100 percent global coverage. The service will provide ANSPs with global aircraft surveillance capability, and is expected to help reduce fuel costs, increase safety and enable more efficient flight paths.