ATC site

Airbus Defence and Space has handed over the world’s first air traffic control (ATC) network featuring a Mode-S-based cluster to the German Air Force’s Flight Safety Authority, following a five-year fully operational observation period.

The ‘Eurocontrol’ standard Mode-S cluster is claimed at guaranteeing the automatised guidance of civil and military aircraft in 1,700km by 1,500km range, which considerably increases the flight safety and the efficiency of airspace utilisation.

Airbus Defence and Space Electronics has equipped the German Air Force’s six long-range surveillance radars with monopulse secondary surveillance radar (MSSR) 2000 I secondary radar systems under the Ramos project.

Claimed to be the only secondary radar certified according to the latest air traffic control standards, both civil and military, the MSSR 2000 I provides an overview of the air situation based on interrogations and automatic replies from the individual aircraft.

The radar establishes a Mode S Cluster, which safely guides all aircraft in the area and eliminates the necessity of individual radar target acquisition, enabled by autonomous target data handover from one radar station to another.

In addition to this, the cluster automatically allocates air traffic control tasks.

Airbus Defence and Space Electronics head Thomas Muller said the global air traffic control authorities are faced with continually increasing air traffic density.

"The global air traffic control authorities are faced with continually increasing air traffic density."

"Together with military air traffic, this situation requires a high-performance guidance system ensuring safety, comprehensive data exchange and efficient allocation of airspace," Muller said.

Currently used for automatic friend-or-foe identification (IFF) in the military field, MSSR 2000 I is also capable of the new Mode 5 military standard, which is to be introduced in all Nato countries.

The radar is deployed on the German naval vessels, and is also used by several armed and naval forces worldwide, and also by Austria, Portugal, Bulgaria and the Philippines for civil air traffic control purposes.

Additional two Mode S based clusters are already operational and in the observation phase, according to the company.

Image: The air traffic control network in Erbeskopf, Germany. Photo: © 2013 Airbus Defence and Space.

Defence Technology