Paris Air Show

ACSS closing in on T3CAS certification

 - June 16, 2009, 7:03 AM

Aviation Communications & Surveillance Systems (ACSS) is closing in on end-of-the-year certification for T3CAS, a product that combines a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS), terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) and mode-S transponder with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast capability (ADS-B) in a single unit.

Once certified, the product will become the standard surveillance package in all Airbus single-aisle (A318/319/320/321) and long-range (A330/340) airplanes. Technical standard order (TSO) approval for the system is expected this summer.

ACSS also announced that its XS-950 mode-S transponder has been upgraded for compliance with the highest level of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B Out) and is now certified for installation in all new Airbus single-aisle and long-range aircraft.

Aircraft equipped with ADS-B avionics transmit their ident, position, flight path, altitude and intent (climbing, descending or remaining level) once per second to other aircraft and ATC. They can also receive information about other aircraft in the vicinity. Certified to DO-260A standards, the XS-950 is the only ADS-B Out-compliant transponder available for the Airbus family.

A joint venture between L-3 Communications in the U.S. and Thales in France, ACSS has positioned itself as a leading supplier of ADS-B equipment for civil aircraft. At the core of its ADS-B involvement is SafeRoute, a set of software applications that are designed to enhance the efficiency and safety of properly equipped airplanes.

Parcel hauler UPS has added SafeRoute tools to some of its airplanes in the hopes of speeding up arrivals at its Kentucky hub, and US Airways has agreed to add the technology to 20 of its Airbus A330s as part of an ADS-B demonstration program with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

UPS has slowed the implementation of ADS-B in its fleet, listing the economic downturn as a reason. If ACSS Merging & Spacing tools are eventually installed across all of its airplanes, UPS anticipates saving substantially on fuel because of the technology’s ability to streamline arrivals.

The U.S. and Europe eventually plan to require ADS-B equipment be carried aboard most aircraft, with Europe’s mandate expected to be approximately five years ahead of the U.S. timetable. The US Airways demonstration program with ACSS is part of an award by the FAA’s Surveillance & Broadcast Services office that is aimed at developing standards and prototypes to validate surface conflict detection tools.  

The US Airways contract includes a full suite of SafeRoute ADS-B applications, including Merging & Spacing, Surface Area Movement Management, In-Trail Procedures and Cockpit Display of Traffic Information in the airline’s A330 fleet. US Airways will be using the surface management tools in demonstrations at Philadelphia International Airport this fall, explained ACSS president Kris Ganase.

“The US Airways crews at Philadelphia will be using our Surface Indicating and Alerting application, which is designed to enhance safety on the surface by providing pilots with information about other aircraft in the vicinity,” Ganase said.