Rohde & Schwarz ATC direction finding systems significantly enhance air traffic safety. They increase situational awareness in towers and control centers. The systems facilitate separating aircraft near airfields and airports and routing them through upper airspaces. The direction finders can operate in combination with terminal area radars and en route radars or as standalone systems. They provide controllers with additional information that helps them to assign aircraft faster and more reliably.
The R&S®DF-ATC-S direction finding systems take bearings on pilots’ calls and indicate the direction of the aircraft. The direction finders provide controllers with this clear information as long as the pilot is calling. Especially when aircraft have similar call signs, this helps to avoid aircraft confusion and identify readback errors. Controllers can easily recognize incorrect position reports and thus prevent fatal consequences.
Independent of visibility, weather conditions and time of day, the R&S®DF-ATC-S direction finding systems reliably inform controllers about the direction of aircraft. The direction finding systems are constantly monitored and provide built-in tests to ensure faultless operation. All system activities and results are logged for further analysis, and alarms are generated in case of problems.
The multichannel capability enables the R&S®DF-ATC-S direction finding systems to take bearings on up to 32 frequency channels in parallel. In combination with the correlative interferometer method and the wide-aperture direction finding antenna with nine antenna elements, the systems provide high accuracy, sensitivity and outstanding immunity to signal reflections. Users control the system via a straightforward, easy-to-use graphical user interface that also allows touchscreen operation.
The scalable R&S®DF-ATC-S direction finder family meets the requirements of small airfields, large airports and area control centers. The direction finders are housed in compact outdoor boxes and can operate under modest installation conditions. The weatherproof units are usually mounted underneath the DF antenna at the optionally supplied five-meter mast. Control panels in the tower and in the administration room allow simple control and administration for multiple users. Open interfaces permit easy integration into existing ATC environments.
When used standalone, the systems provide this valuable information independent of traffic density. In combination with radar systems, the direction finders can function as a fallback solution. Alternatively, they can be integrated into a comprehensive ATC system. The calling aircraft can then be highlighted on the radar screen. This helps to avoid confusion and saves precious seconds for controlling an ever more crowded airspace. These features make R&S®DF-ATC-S direction finders a low-cost safety investment that is ready for the future.