Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems (ACSS), a joint-venture company of L-3 Communications and Thales, is busy preparing for upcoming avionics mandates such as ADS-B as well as the expected EASA requirement for TCAS Change 7.1.
The FAA and EASA have already certified Change 7.1 for the ACSS TCAS 2000 and 3000SP (surveillance processor) systems and it is available from service centers and in some cases as a service bulletin modification. Hawker Beechcraft has selected TCAS 3000SP for the Hawker 4000.
“This is purely a software update,” said Jean-Michel Clairis-Gauthier, ACSS v-p of sales, marketing and business development. “That’s important because in the fleets you have quite a few old boxes from competitors, which cannot be upgraded. Operators have to change the TCAS box, and a new box costs several times the cost of a software upload. If they’re subject to European regulations and want Change 7.1, with some older systems from other suppliers they have to replace the box.”
ACSS is also a key player in the upcoming mandate for ADS-B equipment, which will see ADS-B out required in the U.S. beginning Jan. 1, 2020. “Europe is going to mandate it in 2015,” he said, for new aircraft and later for retrofit installations. “This is critical, a big change for our industry. All the fleets will be equipped with ADS-B out functionality. This would enable operators to activate some of the ADS-B functionality that we’re developing.” ADS-B broadcasts aircraft position from each equipped aircraft, which can eliminate the need for ground-based radar surveillance systems.
“The initial driver is to simplify the ground infrastructure,” Clairis-Gauthier explained, “to get rid of radar and the cost of maintaining huge radar systems. Once we have that operational, we can do a lot with that. The sky is the limit.”
For ACSS, a key capability available for aircraft with the TCAS 3000SP installed is its SafeRoute software applications. These capabilities include:
• CDTI-assisted visual separation: the ability to fly a visual approach procedure in marginal conditions where it is difficult to see other traffic visually but easy to view ADS-B traffic on an electronic display.
• surface area movement management: ADS-B-supplied moving map shows own-ship position on the airport surface, the position of other ADS-B-equipped traffic and traffic shown via the FAA’s TIS-B feed.
• in-trail procedures: instead of being stuck at an inefficient altitude in oceanic or nonradar airspace, ADS-B-equipped aircraft could use SafeRoute to change flight levels while maintaining safe separation from other aircraft.
• merging and spacing: this allows aircraft to follow each other with consistent spacing to improve efficiency and also to fly continuous descent arrivals that save fuel and reduce noise levels and emissions.