News Item

Worldwide air surveillance approved

This month's World Radiocommunication Conference has agreed to allocate RF spectrum for global flight tracking of civil aviation.

The triennial World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) sits in Geneva under the auspices of the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU)..

The tracking agreement follows the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 in March 2014, while on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The mysterious disappearance of the aircraft, with 239 people on board, has spurred worldwide discussion on the need for global flight tracking.

The WRC agreement will enable satellites to receive Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) transmissions, which are currently transmitted only to other aircraft and ground stations.

The Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau explains that the allocation of frequencies for reception of signals from aircraft by space stations 'will enable real-time tracking of aircraft anywhere in the world'.

The ADS-B frequency band of 1,087.7-1,092.3 MHz is currently used only to transmit signals between aircraft and to terrestrial stations within line-of-sight. But the WRC has now allocated the band also for Earth-to-space transmissions from aircraft to satellites.

The ITU explains 'This extends ADS-B signals beyond line-of-sight to facilitate reporting the position of aircraft equipped with ADS-B anywhere in the world, including oceanic, polar and other remote areas'.

ICAO has set November 2016 as a deadline for adopting new tracking guidelines. These will include aircraft transmitting their position at least every 15 minutes, or more often in case of emergency.

Details from the AeroTime link below . .

  • 13 November 2015
  • RIN

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