Skies safer over Tasmania thanks to new generation air traffic surveillance

Airservices has commissioned Australias first Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) radar system in Tasmania.
The $6 million system uses 14 widely dispersed ground stations to determine the exact position of aircraft without the need for a rotating radar antenna through the use of multilateration and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B). General Manager Technology & Asset Services, Alastair Hodgson, said that the system provided enhanced en-route surveillance of air traffic across Tasmania at Launceston Airport and down to the surface at Hobart for the first time. The provision of precise aircraft position and identification information will allow air traffic controllers to track aircraft in controlled airspace where radar coverage hasnt previously been possible, Mr Hodgson said. Additionally, for the first time in Tasmania ADS-B receiver functionality will provide coverage over most of Tasmania and into Bass Strait. Without radar coverage, controllers had to separate aircraft by large distances to provide appropriate safety margins. The use of this system means that air traffic controllers are able to make more efficient and safer use of airspace. Tasmania is one of the largest geographical deployments of WAM in the world and one of the few locations worldwide to be using this state-of-the-art technology. The Tasmanian system comprises 14 receivers installed on existing sites. The system has been operating for the past 12 months and running in parallel with a temporary transportable radar at Launceston. WAM provides a wider range of surveillance across the state than the partial coverage afforded by the radar. The transportable radar equipment will be redeployed from 28 June 2010 to support the refurbishment of air navigation surveillance at other airports.
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