February 22, 1994: Air Traffic Surveillance Radar System

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

The new R-2508 Rehost air traffic surveillance radar system was commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration, which judged it to be the most advanced system of its kind, either within the FAA or the Department of Defense.

The FAA's Terminal Area Surveillance System program provided a single-system replacement for the current mix of multiple aircraft and weather terminal surveillance systems. In FY 1995, that program conducted research on, and technology demonstrations of, design concepts expected to provide enhanced capabilities to increase capacity, efficiency, and safety. Focus areas included seamless surveillance, timely hazardous weather prediction and detection, and full-volume coverage while providing for lower maintenance costs and accommodating site-specific needs. The FAA also completed a cost-benefit analysis of alternative concepts and began cost-performance trades and simulations for an S/C-band single-array radar design. In addition, the FAA began an evaluation of Russian phased-array technology and U.S. computer hardware/software technology and began trade studies on a radar for low- and medium-density airports.

During FY 1995, FAA personnel expanded the Tower Data Link Service to a total of 57 airports. Demonstrations of Graphical Weather Services and Traffic Information Services begun in 1995 are to lead to a regional evaluation program and then national implementation. FAA personnel also demonstrated Terminal Weather Information for Pilots at six sites. In addition, FAA managers defined the requirements for the Initial Terminal Data Link and authorized the development of software. The development of the Key Site in the Gulf of Mexico to support Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) using GPS Squitter signals continued as well. FAA personnel also worked toward the development of U.S. and international standards for controller/pilot data link communications to standardize interfaces for digital messages for air traffic communications services, helping to relieve pilot and controller workload while reducing voice channel congestion. In addition, the FAA supported the development of the context management applications, which enable aircraft and ground systems to maintain up-to-date addressing information while an aircraft is in flight.


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