FAA completes ADS-B network, a key NextGen upgrade
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration announced completion of a nationwide infrastructure upgrade that will enable air traffic controllers to track aircraft with greater accuracy and reliability, while also giving pilots more information in the cockpit. It's a key improvement in our Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
The Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) radio network supports a satellite-based surveillance system that tracks aircraft with the help of GPS. The installation of this radio network clears the way for air traffic controllers to begin using ADS-B to separate equipped aircraft nationwide.
With the upgraded surveillance and broadcast system and aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out transponders, aircraft positions on controller screens update almost continuously, compared to every 4.7 seconds or longer with radar, providing more accurate aircraft location information than the current radar system.
Of the 230 air traffic facilities across the country, 100 are currently using this system to separate traffic. We expect the other facilities to be connected and operating by 2019. All aircraft operating in controlled airspace must be equipped with ADS-B Out avionics that broadcast the plane’s location, by Jan. 1, 2020.
ADS-B also enables more accurate tracking of airplanes and airport vehicles on runways and taxiways, which is a win for greater safety and efficiency. And the new system significantly improves surveillance capability in areas with geographic challenges like mountains or large bodies of water.
Learn more about ADS-B on the FAA website.
Airplanes equipped with ADS-B In, which is not currently mandated, will give pilots information through cockpit displays about location in relation to other aircraft, bad weather and terrain, and temporary flight restrictions.
As Secretary Foxx said, "This upgrade is already providing controllers with visibility in places not previously covered by radar and is an important step in laying the foundation for the NextGen system.”
NextGen is our shorthand for a set of innovations we're implementing in collaboration with the aviation community. In addition to ADS-B, NextGen improvements are already delivering benefits that include more efficient air traffic procedures that save time and fuel and reduce emissions.
It's all part of our effort to ensure that the United States has the safest, most efficient airspace possible for decades to come.