Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) Flight Inspection - Technology and Practices
Maik Ritter, Aerodata AG, Germany; Christopher Dean, AeroPearl Pty Ltd., Australia
Location: Regency Ballroom
Date/Time: Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2:45 p.m.
Measurement and analysis of SSR performance has largely been made on the basis of the flight inspection aircraft playing the role of a co-operative, calibrated target, able to generate high quality truth data for accuracy analysis purposes. This is a time consuming process and real time assessment of SSR performance and coverage is often not possible onboard the aircraft itself. Additionally with classic and Mode S RADAR, Multi-Lateration Systems and TCAS adding to the 1030 MHz RF environment, new technology was required to be developed and to be integrated into the flight inspection system for SSR pulse analysis and interference detection.
This paper presents the methods used for such analysis in the past and how they led to the development of new technology able to complete this analysis, airborne and in real time. The hardware/software concept and realization into the airborne system is presented. Also a brief history in development of this system is shown, in order to prove that the integration in a modern and compact flight inspection system is possible.
The effectiveness of the system in the context of SSR flight inspection and additional considerations for the use of monitoring spectrum protection with regards to EU Regulation No 1207/2011 is considered. The EU regulation, effective since the beginning of 2015 requires periodic checks on the 1030 MHz uplink band to prove the intended and specified purpose of a surveillance radar system. As discussed in the flight inspection community, the required checks are not implemented yet, because of the lack of easy to use and cheap solutions, incorporated into a flight inspection system. This paper will show, that solutions already exist and are already in practical use for several years.
Several use-cases are presented, including examples where the capabilities offered by the technology were key to understanding complex interactions in the 1030 MHz RF environment and resolving issues observed in SSR performance. By talking about the 1030 MHz uplink band of an SSR system, the question arises, if also the 1090 MHz downlink needs additional checks for proving that both spectra are safe to use for the surveillance task. It is shown, what has been done in the past to protect the 1090 MHz downlink and how this protection techniques can help in today’s flight inspection considerations.
As the mentioned EU regulation has been effective for over 2 years, but widely disregarded in the flight inspection community, it is recommended that awareness of the topic be raised to the flight inspection community and Civil Aviation Authorities. There is a need for additional, well defined checks during flight inspection of secondary surveillance radar systems and this presentation shows that easy to use and fully integrated technology is already available and that its operational usefulness has been proven.