While much hand-wringing surrounds the FAA's plans for implementation of the NextGen air transportation system and Europe's single European sky system, some of the airborne equipment required is already on its way into cockpits. The first certified ADS-B in equipment for an in-production aircraft is ACSS's T3cas traffic management computer, according to ACSS (Aviation Communications and Surveillance Systems). T3cas recently received certification for installation in the Airbus A320 series (which includes the A318 Elite, ACJ and A320 Prestige corporate jets). First installations of A320 T3cas began last month. ACSS is 70 percent owned by L-3 Communications and 30 percent owned by Thales, and both companies worked on the T3cas certification program.
T3cas combines a variety of functions in a single LRU, including Tcas, mode-S transponder, Taws and ADS-B capability. For ADS-B out functions, the system's transponder provides surveillance range of more than 120 nm and meets RTCA DO-260A Class A3 standards. T3cas enables implementation of Airbus's airborne traffic situational awareness (ATSA) applications, which will allow operators eventually to take advantage of specific ATSA functionality. This includes awareness of other aircraft in flight, speed and position information on other traffic in terminal environments and in-trail procedure capability for flight level changes in oceanic airspace when flight paths are blocked by other traffic.