Raytheon Company has started integrating Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) capabilities for the U.S. Air Force's largest airplanes to ensure that the service meets an international deadline for equipping military aircraft with the latest satellite-based cooperative aircraft tracking technology.
Air Force bombers, cargo planes and refueling tankers are receiving transponder capabilities that broadcast their location and other information while in civil airspace. ADS-B technology monitors plane movement, and is required in the majority of all aircraft flying in the United States by 2020. Similar mandates exist for international air space navigation.
"An ADS-B transponder continuously transmits information, including direction, speed and altitude," said Scott Whatmough, vice president of Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems' Integrated Communication Systems. "The purpose behind this latest technology is to increase safety."
ADS-B converts the Federal Aviation Administration's Next Gen Air Traffic Control System from ground-based to satellite-based, and will be incorporated into thousands of Raytheon's Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems.
IFF provides time-critical positive identification of friendly forces. The process is initiated automatically by a ground or airborne interrogator that transmits a secure message. The transponder then receives the interrogation and generates a secure response.
All Air Force platforms requiring this capability are anticipated to have ADS-B in compliance with the 2020 mandate.