The progress being made in moving toward greater ATM automation can be seen where the fastest growth in air traffic is being experienced and where there has been an urgent need to improve the ATM infrastructure.
Raytheon has been responsible, working closely with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), for providing an advanced ATM system that so far covers three of the four Indian Flight Information Regions. The three airports concerned to date are at Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai, and all have been equipped with Raytheon’s AutoTrac III (AT3) management system. It is designed to offer an advanced cost-effective solution where air traffic is outpacing revenue growth.
The need to increase air traffic capacity and productivity within a cost-conscious Indian environment has led to the design of an open architecture ATM model with high performance characteristics. The model is adaptable to different AAI requirements, from the automation of an ATC tower to a fully integrated national multi-center system, which is now happening.
The system incorporates advanced surveillance and flight data processing, and as the wider regional coverage rolls out, India can claim to have the most modern ATM system operational anywhere. Functions include multi-sensor tracking, safety nets, automatic dependent surveillance/controller pilot data links, flight data and clearance processing, monitoring aids, medium-term conflict detection, system-supported coordination, and stripless human-machine interface.
The system architecture is in place and can support the highest densities experienced in some of the world’s busiest ATC centers.
“India is currently driving the Asia Pacific ATM market and has made great headway in achieving a program that will deliver upper airspace harmonization which will extend across a huge area. Hong Kong is following,” Steve duMont, Managing Director International ATM at Raytheon, recently told SAE Magazines.
“This movement to integrated, highly automated ATM systems is global, and we are actively participating in transition forums,” he said. “It isn’t just about helping aircraft to get from A to B more safely and quicker; it’s allowing more direct flights using new tools and is more efficient. It’s also about saving fuel and reducing emissions, so it’s helping airlines and the environment.”
Raytheon is also building the ground stations for the GPS-Aided Geosynchronous Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) System. This will provide satellite-based navigation for civil airliners over Indian airspace and adjoining areas in Asia. The space segment is being provided by India’s own space research organization (ISRO) with AAI in partnership participating in the system integration and operating the system.
The GAGAN program addresses the four essential elements of safe air navigation—accuracy, integrity, availability, and continuity. The equipment has now been installed and includes seven new reference station sites together with the existing eight technology demonstration sites, which have been upgraded.
Working with ISRO, Raytheon has completed the development of the algorithms to provide satellite-based navigation service over the Indian Flight Information Region, to deliver a comprehensive national solution. The analysis and development phase has taken two years, and evaluation testing has achieved a technical consensus so that fully fielding the GAGAN system is getting closer.
Raytheon claims to be the first company to have delivered multiple satellite-based augmentation systems that have been certified for safety-of-flight operations. The company developed the FAA’s Wide Area Augmentation System and has been working with Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau on its Multi-Function Transport Satellite Augmentation System.