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Besides communications and navigation, surveillance lies at the heart of air traffic management. The aim of all surveillance infrastructure is the provision of safe, efficient and cost-effective air navigation services. Optimised surveillance infrastructure allows routes to be brought closer together resulting in an increase of capacity. Frequentis Comsoft – the competence centre for surveillance within the Frequentis Group – looks back on a long history of experience with the supply of innovative surveillance solutions.

Frequentis Comsoft offers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions covering the whole surveillance data chain. These solutions help organisations safely achieve higher density in air traffic, thereby cutting costs and enhancing passenger convenience.The product portfolio includes ADS-B sensors, multilateration systems, surveillance data distribution and processing systems, surveillance displays and ATM automation modules.

Frequentis Comsoft products covering the whole surveillance data chain

ADS-B, MLAT & WAM

To boost efficiency, streamline operations, cut infrastructure costs and enhance safety, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) are looking at new technologies that can out-perform traditional radar for both air and ground surveillance. In many cases, they need to replace end-of-life radar systems, and would benefit from a lower-cost alternative.Two key technologies within the domain of Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) are multilateration (MLAT) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B).

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To boost efficiency, streamline operations, cut infrastructure costs and enhance safety, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) are looking at new technologies that can out-perform traditional radar for both air and ground surveillance. In many cases, they need to replace end-of-life radar systems, and would benefit from a lower-cost alternative.

Two key technologies within the domain of Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) are multilateration (MLAT) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B). MLAT analyses tiny differences between the times at which signals are received by multiple small ground stations to determine an aircraft’s position with greater accuracy and precision than conventional secondary radar. ADS-B relies on aircraft to broadcast their position, identification, velocity, projected path and other useful information. MLAT is backward-compatible with existing SSR transponders and forward-compatible with ADS-B.

The Quadrant product from Frequentis Comsoft uses advanced MLAT algorithms to provide 3D position measurements, and offers lightweight, cost-efficient ADS-B sensors as a replacement for – or addition to – SSR. Highly flexible, Quadrant can scale easily and rapidly to support requirements from a single remote deployment to national Wide Area Multilateration (WAM). The system could also be used by a consortium of regional airports to centralise ATC to a single location for reduced costs.

Quadrant employs patented Simultaneous Tracking and Calibration (STaC) technology developed by Frequentis Comsoft to maintain system synchronisation, enabling increased accuracy and reduced dependency on GPS timing signals.

By supporting a more accurate and detailed Air Situation Picture, Quadrant can enhance airport safety for both ground and air traffic. The system has a field-proven capacity to maintain throughput even in severe weather conditions and low visibility.

With small, easily accessible sensors that contain no moving parts and that can be installed on existing structures such as roofs or mobile network masts, Quadrant offers the potential for significant reductions in lifecycle cost compared with conventional radar. It also enables airports to reach operational readiness faster and with less capital investment.

Surveillance Data Distribution

It is vital for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and air defence organisations to ensure effective communication and data-sharing between surveillance systems. They must be in full control of the information flows and be able to apply comprehensive quality assurance to data, or risk losing situational awareness. With the number and variety of systems and standards constantly increasing, it is becoming more challenging for organisations to maintain their surveillance distribution environments.

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It is vital for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and air defence organisations to ensure effective communication and data-sharing between surveillance systems. They must be in full control of the information flows and be able to apply comprehensive quality assurance to data, or risk losing situational awareness.

With the number and variety of systems and standards constantly increasing, it is becoming more challenging for organisations to maintain their surveillance distribution environments. Newer technologies such as ADS-B and multilateration are becoming more common, and data volumes are rising exponentially, not least because of the proliferation of drone traffic. These developments further complicate the assurance of quality and safety in the surveillance data chain. Simply boosting network bandwidth and system processing power is not an adequate response: ANSPs need a centralised platform for integrating, monitoring, configuring and controlling any type of surveillance data, today and tomorrow.

With next-generation Surveillance Data Distribution Systems (SDDS-NG) from Frequentis Comsoft, ANSPs can bring all surveillance data services into a single infrastructure. The solution integrates data from any kinds of sensors and automatically converts data to and from standard and non-standard formats.

Available as a true turnkey solution, SDDS-NG enables ANSPs to continue to use legacy equipment and data formats while introducing newer technology from any vendor. This boosts cost-efficiency by extending the value of past investments, while reducing vendor-dependency for greater flexibility.

Field-proven in more than 35 major deployments operational globally since 2011, SDDS-NG offers exceptionally wide support for legacy and modern data formats and protocols. User-configurable data filtering – for example, by geography or by aircraft code – helps boost efficiency by giving each user only the information they need for their operational role, avoiding the potential for information overload. An integrated ADS-B server provides a coherent, rationalised air-situation picture by removing redundant information from multiple sources of overlapping data.

By harmonising data across disparate systems, SDDS-NG supports interoperability even across isolated systems based on proprietary standards. With a maximum transfer delay of 50ms, the solution also helps ensure currency of data for more accurate shared situational awareness. The layered solution architecture offers flexible connections with any vendor or generation of surveillance technology, and the solution supports comprehensive vertical integration with software-defined networks.

In addition to providing a single point of access and distribution for surveillance data, SDDS-NG enables centralised, cost-effective management. The solution is also highly scalable: organisations can deploy anything from a single remote-tower solution right up to a large, multi-node, fully redundant international network. Regardless of their individual scale, different systems can be managed centrally.

Surveillance Data Processing

The reliability and accuracy of surveillance data is critically important for safe and efficient Air Traffic Management (ATM). Losing access to surveillance data in one section of airspace can significantly reduce Air Traffic Control (ATC) capacity, putting pressure on neighbouring airspace. It is therefore vital for ATC organisations to exchange and make optimal use of all available sensor data. In particular, organisations in different countries must be able to generate and share a seamless, accurate and reliable Air Situation Picture (ASP).

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The reliability and accuracy of surveillance data is critically important for safe and efficient Air Traffic Management (ATM). Losing access to surveillance data in one section of airspace can significantly reduce Air Traffic Control (ATC) capacity, putting pressure on neighbouring airspace. It is therefore vital for ATC organisations to exchange and make optimal use of all available sensor data. In particular, organisations in different countries must be able to generate and share a seamless, accurate and reliable Air Situation Picture (ASP).

Creating a valid ASP in real-time depends on rapidly, reliably and accurately processing large volumes of diverse sensor and radar data in multiple different formats from multiple sources.

Since 1998, EUROCONTROL’s ARTAS (ATM suRveillance Tracker And Server) system is one of the most advanced and most successful tracking systems for ATC capable to produce a reliable, accurate and real-time ASP, and today is in active use in more than 43 ATC centres tracking almost 90 percent of air traffic in Europe.

Since 2001, Frequentis Comsoft is the industrial partner for EUROCONTROL’s CAMOS (Centralised ARTAS Maintenance and Operational Support), the maintenance and development service supporting EUROCONTROL’s ARTAS system. EUROCONTROL’s CAMOS has actively contributed to the success of ARTAS (e.g. it ensures the continued ARTAS maintenance and development in a SWAL3 manner).

Thereby Frequentis Comsoft has long since acted as a key development and support partner to EUROCONTROL for ARTAS, and, as well as deep expertise in surveillance tracking technology, Frequentis Comsoft has years of experience in the installation, configuration and tuning of ARTAS systems, and offers turnkey deployments of the technology.

Frequentis Comsoft is a EUROCONTROL-licensed ARTAS Distributor, and therefore authorised to deploy EUROCONTROL’s ARTAS systems for Non-EUROCONTROL Member State Organisations (NEMSO) upon agreement with EUROCONTROL, as well as to provide tuning, training and support services to NEMSO ARTAS End Users.

ATM Systems

The final link in the Air Traffic Control (ATC) surveillance chain is the presentation of accurate information to the controllers, giving them situational awareness of both air and ground traffic. As Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) face up to the challenges of achieving efficient gate-to-gate operations, they are increasingly required to integrate information from multiple sources, and to present different views of this data to enable seamless switching between each phase of a flight.

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The final link in the ATC surveillance chain is the presentation of accurate information to the controllers, giving them situational awareness of both air and ground traffic. The display component of any surveillance solution naturally plays a vital role in the safe and efficient management of aircraft both in the vicinity of aerodromes and en-route to their destinations.

As ANSPs face up to the challenges of achieving efficient gate-to-gate operations, they are increasingly required to integrate information from multiple sources, and to present different views of this data to enable seamless switching between each phase of a flight. At the same time, ANSPs are under pressure to reduce costs and enable greater flexibility in working practices, while reducing complexity at controller working positions. ATC must also cope with new potential safety threats arising from uncoordinated drone operations.

PRISMA is a scalable, fully functional ATM automation system, supporting all air navigation service functions, from pre-flight planning to real-time situational awareness including UTM traffic in a single, modern solution. PRISMA offers air traffic services, including approach control services, flight information services and alerting services, with an advanced feature set.

The modular nature of the system makes PRISMA suited for multiple use cases, such as tower, approach and back-up/contingency system. PRISMA can be deployed as a stand-alone solution, as a complete ATM automation system or as a fully integrated solution based on the Frequentis MOSAIX platform for managing integrated ATM applications across controller working positions, control rooms and operational centres.

Frequentis Comsoft also offers a range of tools to support surveillance, including R2D2-V2: a state-of-the-art system for the legal recording and replay of surveillance data, audio data, and screen content. Combined with the RMD‑V2 product, R2D2-V2 enables comprehensive post-event analysis and investigation.

Portfolio of ATM modules:

  • PRISMA: Modular ATM automation system
  • ASD: Air situation display
  • MDAS: Military display automation system
  • SafetyNets: Short term conflict alert system
  • R2D2-V2: Recording & replay of digital data
  • RMD-V2: Radar monitoring display

Control & Monitoring

To provide safe and efficient services, ANSPs operate a large number of different systems, often across multiple sites. This means that complexity and software distribution challenges are steadily increasing. Frequentis Comsoft provides standardised solutions to integrate the control and monitoring of heterogeneous ATM environments, simplifying operations and reducing costs. The entire Frequentis Comsoft solution portfolio features highly flexible user interfaces and exceptional scalability.

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To provide safe and efficient services, ANSPs operate a large number of different systems, often across multiple sites. This means that complexity and software distribution challenges are steadily increasing. Frequentis Comsoft provides standardised solutions to integrate the control and monitoring of heterogeneous ATM environments, simplifying operations and reducing costs.

The entire Frequentis Comsoft solution portfolio features highly flexible user interfaces and exceptional scalability. To enable fast deployment and low-cost management, the control and monitoring solutions are designed to run on common, off-the-shelf hardware and industry-standard software. Modular architecture makes the solutions relatively easy to integrate with existing technologies and to scale to new requirements.

Intuitive interfaces feature user-definable filtering and data abstraction, ensuring that ATM staff can view the most relevant information for their individual functions – presented clearly, concisely and vividly. By reducing visual and auditory distractions, the Frequentis Comsoft solutions help operators focus on the most important and time-sensitive issues at all times. Administrators can easily customise user landscapes to provide different views for different types of users.

By providing the ability to connect with existing as well as future surveillance data networks, Frequentis Comsoft solutions help organisations to future-proof their operations and maximise the value of past investments. Equally, with no single points of failure across hardware, software or networking components, the solutions are ideally suited for the rigorous demands of safety-critical ATM environments.

To help ensure conformity to ASTERIX standards, Frequentis Comsoft offers its EUROCONTROL-qualified RAPS (radar analysis and playback system) product. RAPS – now in its third iteration – is a highly versatile tool that enables organisations to generate, test, analyse, filter, convert and validate surveillance data. System and radar engineers can use RAPS for system testing, fault analysis, quality monitoring and trouble shooting.