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EUROCONTROL deploys new surveillance techniques for air traffic management

EUROCONTROL is promoting broader awareness on the emerging surveillance technique known as Wide Area Multilateration (WAM), which provides technical and financial benefits to users. WAM is a technique where…

EUROCONTROL is promoting broader awareness on the emerging surveillance technique known as Wide Area Multilateration (WAM), which provides technical and financial benefits to users. WAM is a technique where several ground receiving stations listen to signals transmitted from an aircraft and then mathematically calculate its position in three dimensions.



WAM is an excellent surveillance choice for En-Route and Terminal Manoeuvring Area coverage as it provides equal to or better performance than secondary surveillance radar and reduces pollution on radio frequencies by passively receiving the majority of its data. WAM is considerably less expensive to deploy and can be configured to provide excellent coverage, even in mountainous regions, thus bringing new safety benefits to those areas unsuitable for conventional radars. Importantly WAM does not need any additional avionic equipment; it uses signals that already exist today.



On June 4 and 5, over 150 people from 30 countries representing air navigation service providers, States, Military, Industry, Airlines and Universities, attended a workshop on WAM. Representatives from industry,

SENSIS, ERA and Roke Manor Research were also in attendance to present their products and to answer questions from the participants. The workshop was divided into 3 sessions, focusing on education, communication and information for participants. Presentations included the principles behind how WAM works, the technical investigations and studies underway, WAM performance when compared to Secondary Radar, Safety Case investigations and how WAM can be integrated into today’s ATM architecture.



Representatives from the Czech, Austrian, Swiss and Armenian air navigation service providers gave details of their WAM Systems, some that are already fully operational or others undergoing final pre-operational trials.



“We are delighted at the success of the workshop,” said Mel Rees, Head of the Surveillance Division at EUROCONTROL. “WAM is an important surveillance technique that is now becoming widely available, by sharing our knowledge and experiences we hope to highlight its maturity and to encourage greater deployment of this new, inexpensive, high performance system”.



The workshop requested EUROCONTROL to intensify its efforts to promote the implementation of WAM systems throughout Europe and to expedite the development of EUROCONTROL Surveillance products to process WAM data.

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