IFF and Mode 5: Past Present and Future

Written by James Miller. Posted in Blogs

ticIFF (Identification Friend or Foe) is the military designation for the Air Traffic Control (ATC) System that is used to identify and track military aircraft. The IFF system consists of a ground (or airborne, or shipborne) interrogator and an airborne transponder. The interrogator transmits a coded interrogation burst via a directional antenna, to which the airborne transponder replies with identification information according to the type of interrogation. The interrogator then determines the range and bearing to the target. Depending on the type of interrogation, the transponder may encode altitude, position, and other pertinent flight information.


UPS Launches Data Comm Trial EWR

. Posted in Blogs

UPS Launches Data Comm Trial at Newark Liberty

3 ups md11
A UPS MD-11 conducted the first revenue flight from Newark Liberty International Airport using ATC data communications in mid-May. (Photo: UPS)
June 3, 2013, 3:00 PM

UPS MD-11 pilots and controllers at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey started communicating by text messages in May under the Federal Aviation Administrations data communications (data comm) departure clearance (DCL) trials program. TheFAA expects United Airlines, British Airways and other carriers will begin participating thissummer.



NewarksATC tower is the second facility to start the trials.Controllers at Memphis International Airport started sending text messages to FedEx Express pilots in mid-January. This month, both locations will receive a software upgrade to the Thales-supplied tower automation system being used for the trials. The tower at Memphis, FedExs hub airport, will then begin 24-hour data-comm operations between controllers and pilots of properly equipped Boeing 777s andMD-11s, tentatively late thismonth.

Operations at Newark Liberty will remain in a limited mode due to facility resource restraints on introducing new systems [and] procedures during the summer severe weather season, according to theFAAs Data Communications Program Office. The plan is to begin full-scale trial operations at Newark in the fall. In addition to United Airlines and British Airways, theFAA expects that Lufthansa and Scandinavian Airlines will participate, representing the first passenger and international carriers to join the trials. BothUPS and FedEx will alsoparticipate.

TheFAA is conducting the year-long trial efforts to demonstrate the functionality of text messaging between controllers and pilots for pre-departure and revised pre-departure clearances while aircraft are on the ground. Pilots already receive pre-departure clearances in text format, but they come indirectly fromATC through an airlines operations center, using the aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (Acars). Controllers must communicate revised pre-departure clearances stemming from weather or other factors by voice, which can slow progress at a busy airport. In oceanic airspace, controllers and pilots have communicated for years using the Future Air Navigation System (Fans) 1/A datalink system. TheFAA plans to expand that capability to continental airspace for aircraft equipped with updated Fans 1/A+avionics.

TheDCL service being tested in Memphis and Newark allows pilots of Fans-equipped aircraft to log directly into theThales automation system, which is located at theATCclearance delivery position in the tower, via the existing airport Acars orVHF Digital Mode 2 (VDL-2) datalinks. Controllers can load initial and revised departure clearances directly into the aircrafts flight management system (FMS). The ability forATCclearance delivery to send loadable revised route clearances to a flight deck at the gate and/or in the taxi movement areas is expected to significantly enhance the efficiency and speed of airport operations, theFAA said.

TheFAA initially planned to conductDCL trials at Memphis, Newark and Atlantas Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. However, the agency has removed Atlanta from the trials program to focus on the next step of demonstrating data messaging in theATC en route environment in the 2014-2015 time frame. Plans call for deploying data comm inATC towers starting in 2016 for routine communications and in air route traffic control centers that manage en route traffic starting in2019.


Latest Articles from the Industry

. Posted in Blogs


Ongoing Sequester Will Challenge NextGen, FAA Chief Says

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta (center) addresses the NextGen Advisory Committee with new FAA deputy administrator Michael Whitaker (left) and the chairman of the NAC and Alaska Air Group, Bill Ayer. (Photo: Bill Carey)
June 10, 2013, 11:10 AM

Continuing annual budget reductions due to the sequester process in theU.S. will make it difficult for the Federal Aviation Administration to complete the enabling programs of the NextGenATC modernization effort on time,FAAAdministrator Michael Huerta told theNextGen Advisory Committee (NAC) on June 4. In April, theU.S. Congress passed legislation that gave theFAA flexibility to reallocate money and help restart one such program, he said. But the legislation stays in effect only for the balance of Fiscal Year 2013, which ends on September30.

Unless the Congress reverses it, thesequester will amount to a 10-year budget-cutting exercise that affects both civil agencies and the Department of Defense. The measure threatens theFAAs NextGen effort not so much by reducing funding for equipment in the agencys facilities and equipment account, but by depleting the manpower needed to help develop and operate new systems, including air traffic controllers and technicians. Seven NextGen programs exist in various stages of implementation, Huertasaid.

These programs are current contract commitments that will deliver new capabilities for all phases of flight by 2018, he said. The budget profile even under sequester would provide capital funding required to meet most of those commitments. But to make this happen, we also have to have the operations funds to maintain active work force participation in key activities. If were not able to keep that work force engagement, its very difficult to meet all of our current commitments and the associated time linesIts one thing to deploy a system; its quite another thing to make itoperational.

When the sequester took effect on March 1, theFAA sought to cut costs by requiring controllers to take unpaid leave, or furlough days. It also announced that 149 contractATC towers at small airports would close. Passed by Congress in April, the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 authorized theFAA to shift $253 million from the Airport Improvement Program, which lawmakers had previously exempted from the sequester, into its operations and facilities and equipment accounts.The agency then canceled the furloughs and contract towerclosings.

Huerta said the legislation also freed $10 million in funds to prevent delays in core NextGen programs. The money helped restart suspended parts of theOptimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex (OAPM) program. TheOAPM effort aims to improve air traffic flows in congested metroplex regions with multiple large airports. Study teams consisting of theFAA, airline representatives and other stakeholders meet to identify efficiency gains through measures such as adjusting airspace sectors and implementing advanced navigation procedures. TheFAA recalled controllers and managers assigned to metroplex projects to their home facilities until fundingresumed.

TheFAAs new deputy administrator, Michael Whitaker, accompanied Huerta to theNAC meeting in Washington,D.C. Whitaker now serves as the agencys chief NextGen officer, a role Huerta previously held. A former United Airlines andTWA executive, he most recently worked for InterGlobe Enterprises, an airline management and travel services company that operates Indian low-fare carrierIndiGo.


Mode S Elementary/Enhanced Surveillance

Written by Chris Allen. Posted in Blogs

ticWhile traditional Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) stations interrogate all aircraft within their range, Mode S establishes selective and addressed interrogations with aircraft within its coverage. Such selective interrogation improves the quality and integrity of the detection, identification and altitude reporting.

These improvements translate into benefits in terms of safety, capacity and efficiency benefits which are key to supporting the future of the high-traffic density airspace. This first step of selective interrogation is known as Mode S Elementary Surveillance.

Mode S Enhanced Surveillance builds upon the concept of Elementary Surveillance and consists of the extraction of further aircraft parameters known as Downlink Airborne Parameters (DAPs). This facilitates an increase in the safety and efficiency of the ATM operations.

The Mark XII IFF System

Written by Chris Allen. Posted in Blogs

ticThe Mark XII IFF System is a cooperative question and answer friend identification system that has been operational since the 1960s. The Mark XII System is comprised of 4 main component sections: An interrogator subsystem [e.g. AN/UPX-25(V)], transponder subsystem [e.g. AN/UPX-28(V)], associated decoders and antennas.

The Mark XIIA Mode 5 is an improvement to the aging Mark XII Identification, Friend, or Foe (IFF) System that uses modern modulation, coding, and cryptographic techniques to overcome performance and security problems in the current Mark XII waveform. Additionally, Mark XIIA Mode 5 offers expanded data handling capable of passing GPS position and other extended data.


ISO 9001 Quality RED RGB

Login Register