Australia Expands ADS-B Network as Mandate Nears

 - November 11, 2013, 12:38 PM
Two ADS-B antennas are shown atop a communications tower at Warburton, Australia. (Photo: Airservices Australia)

Airservices Australia commissioned two new ground stations to support its national automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) network as the country’s first ADS-B mandate approaches. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) requires that aircraft flying above 29,000 feet be fitted with ADS-B avionics by December 12.

Airservices said the two new ADS-B ground stations–one near the coastal city of Coffs Harbor in New South Wales, the other on North Stradbroke Island southeast of Brisbane–increase the nationwide surveillance network to 61 ground stations at 31 sites. Fourteen of those stations form part of the Tasmanian wide-area multilateration system; another 16 (at 14 sites) form part of the Sydney WAM system.

The government-owned air navigation services provider said it will install at least another 28 ADS-B ground stations at 14 sites over the next three years to expand surveillance at lower altitudes and to extend higher-level coverage offshore. Airservices awarded Thales ATM the original contract to provide ground stations at 28 sites in March 2004.

According to Airservices, more than 90 percent of major Australian airline jets have already been equipped for ADS-B, which requires a 1090-MHz extended-squitter datalink and global navigation satellite system receiver. It said that 94 percent of flights at or above 29,000 feet in the Australian flight information region are operating with ADS-B capability.

The next milestone in the country’s transition to ADS-B will occur on February 6, when CASA regulations require that new instrument flight rule (IFR) aircraft registrations in Australia, as well as new transponder installations in older IFR aircraft, be ADS-B capable.

All Australian-registered IFR aircraft flying within Australia’s airspace must operate using ADS-B by Jan. 6, 2017.