ITU adopts new satellite technique to improve flight safety
The United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, the International Telecommunication Union, ITU, which establishes worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems, has adopted the main technical principals of enhanced aircraft automatic dependent surveillance via satellite, to track in-flight aircraft worldwide.
Aircraft automatic dependent surveillance is a technique in which aircrafts automatically provide, via a data link, data from the on-board navigation and position-fixing systems, including aircraft identification, four-dimensional position (e.g. latitude, longitude, altitude and time) and additional data, as appropriate.
The technique is termed “automatic” because there is no intervention from the pilot or interrogation from terrestrial stations, and “dependent” because the data is dependent upon on-board systems such as global positioning system and altimeter.
The system relays the information to the relevant airline operators and air traffic control centres who then track the aircraft identifying any anomalies in its flight profile and initiate emergency procedures where necessary, enhancing safety in the sky.
Commenting on the innovation, ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, said: “Since the tragic loss of life with the disappearance of flight MH370 in 2014 over the South China Sea, ITU has undertaken activities to improve the tracking of in-flight aircraft using advanced information and communication technologies. The adoption of these technical principals for enhanced aircraft surveillance via satellite will make great strides in saving lives.”
According to him, different aircraft automatic dependent surveillance systems have been standardized within the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, such as terrestrial automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, ADS-B, and automatic dependent surveillance-contract, ADS-C.
The technical principals adopted by ITU support implementation of reception of ADS-B via satellite that would enhance surveillance of aircraft, particularly in areas where terrestrial receivers cannot practically be deployed, such as in oceanic, trans-polar and remote regions and would be a major step in the implementation of the ICAO global aeronautical distress and safety system.
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