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AAI signs MoU with Aireon for aircraft surveillance over Indian Ocean

ANI  |  General News 

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has signed an MoU with Aireon, USA for implementation of Space-Based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast data (ADS-B) services for the oceanic regions of the Indian flight information regions (FIRs).

The agreement was signed by Mansoor Ahmed, ED (CNS-P), Airports Authority of India and Don Thoma, President and CEO, Aireon in the presence of Chairman of Airports Authority of India, Guruprasad Mohapatra in New Delhi on Thursday.

The ADS-B data services will provide the real-time surveillance of airplanes over oceans falling in Indian Airspace.

Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman of Airports Authority of India said, "Almost 60 percent of our airspace is Oceanic, so we did have surveillance methods to the conventional methods, so now with satellite-based ADS-B tracking system we will be able to track the plane with proper surveillance".

He added, "It also helps us in proper surveillance and helps in optimizing the efficiency and helps the pilots and the aircrafts. So this is a safety-enhancing activity and we are the first Asia Pacific country to do so".

The present surveillance technology comprises of a network of 30 radars and 31 ground-based ADS-B at strategic locations across the landmass collects the information controllers, to be used by air traffic controller to get the real-time information of where planes are flying.

The coverage of these radars and ground-based ADS-B receivers is restricted by the line of sight limitations which is typically between 200 to 250 Nautical Miles (NM) depending on terrain conditions.

S ADS-B technology will be implemented through a constellation of satellites with 64 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites with inter-satellite links. Aircraft equipped with ADS-B system will beam their exact position in real-time to satellites.

At any given point of time, a single aircraft will be tracked by three to four satellites.

Don Thoma, President, and CEO of Aireon said, "Airports Authority of India operates some of the largest Oceanic airspace in the world with significant and growing air traffic with the growth of the aviation within the region. Airports Authority of India will use this service to improve both the monitoring of the aircraft for the safety reasons but also to allow more aircrafts to fly in that airspace safely".

These LEO satellites will receive the signals transmitted from aircraft and downlink the data to ground-based infrastructure.

Then, the ground-based infrastructure will deliver the ADS-B data compatible with AAI's Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS)/ Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems installed at Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.

The satellite constellation of space-based ADS-B will provide the complete coverage of the oceanic region of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata Flight Information Regions.

Airports Authority of India is planning to commence trial operations of these services from 1 January 2020 onwards.

The estimated cost towards provisioning of these services is Rs.114 crores per year.

With the ability to display an accurate and real-time picture of an aircraft, this technology will facilitate more efficient planning and offer a wider array of traffic control and management tools.

The new technology will support the capacity enhancement of airspace which will result in more number of aircraft flying over a designated route. This will support the increased frequency of flights departing from a particular airport.

S ADS-B technology will also benefit hugely in terms of ensuring optimum (most favorable) flight levels and flying time through most direct routings. This will result in huge savings in fuel and reduction in carbon emission leading to environmental benefits.

It will be very helpful in the timely detection of various emergency and distress situations and supporting search and rescue operations. Controllers will have more accurate information about an aircraft's last position, thereby reducing the critical window of time involved in initiating a search and rescue operation. More Importantly, Space-based ADS-B will also ensure uninterrupted surveillance as a back-up, during natural calamities such as flood, cyclones and earthquake etc. when ground-based facilities are either withdrawn or are not available.

Indian airspace including the oceanic airspace is strategically located to facilitate major traffic flows between in Asia Pacific Region and Middle East region in Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian ocean.

Thus, AAI as an Air Navigation Services Provider has a leadership role to play towards enhancing the airspace safety, capacity to ensure efficient aircraft operations.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 25 2019. 17:46 IST