The FAA's Surveillance and Broadcast Services program office was formed in 2005. The program office will change the nation's air traffic control system from one that relies on radar technology to a system that uses precise location data from the global satellite network.
Enabling this evolution is a proven technology called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). ADS-B is a crucial component of the nation's Next-Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), and its implementation over the next 20 years will turn the NextGen vision into a reality. After years of research and development, and use by general aviation pilots in Alaska and air transport carriers in the Ohio River Valley, the FAA determined in 2005 that ADS-B was ready to be implemented throughout the national airspace system.
With ADS-B, both pilots and controllers can see radar-like displays of traffic – the displays update next to real time and do not degrade with distance or terrain. The system also gives pilots access to weather services and flight information services.
The gains in safety, capacity, and efficiency as a result of moving to a satellite-based system will enable the FAA to meet the expected growth in air traffic predicted in coming decades. Because ADS-B is a flexible and expandable platform, it can change and grow with the evolving aviation system.
Current ADS-B deployment
- Provides air-to-air surveillance capability.
- Provides surveillance to remote or inhospitable areas that do not currently have coverage with radar.
- Provides real-time traffic and aeronautical information in the cockpit.
- Allows for reduced separation and greater predictability in departure and arrival times.
- Supports common separation standards, both horizontal and vertical, for all classes of airspace.
- Improves ability of airlines to manage traffic and aircraft fleets.
- Improves ability of air traffic controllers to plan arrivals and departures far in advance.
- Reduces the cost of the infrastructure needed to operate the National Airspace System.