By David Jensen WASHINGTON, 30 June 2010. Now that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its final rule outlining performance requirements for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out, avionics manufacturers can proceed in developing and producing the equipment that aircraft flying in controlled airspace and above 10,000 feet will be required to have installed by 2020. In fact, anticipating the rule, most avionics manufacturers are well along in developing ADS-B Out equipment to FAA standards, and some are proceeding with the development of software and displays for ADS-B In. Onboard equipage for ADS-B Out uses global positioning system (GPS) navigation to determine an aircraft's position and then broadcasts it -- along with the aircraft's altitude, speed, heading, call sign, and type -- to air traffic control and other aircraft. ADS-B In equipage takes the next step by allowing an aircraft to also receive area traffic information and use it in various applications, such as merging and spacing and surface movement management. With the implementation of full ADS-B capability, aircraft operators are expected to enjoy the following benefits, according to FAA: * improved visual acquisition to maintain separation in marginal weather; * reduced runway incursions and safer surface operations in low-visibility conditions; * enhanced visual approaches; * closely spaced parallel approaches; * reduced spacing on final approach; * reduced aircraft separation en-route; and * improved ATC services in non-radar airspace. FAA officials view these benefits as incentives for airlines to equip. However, they also have calculated that equipage costs for carriers would range from $2.5 billion to $6.2 billion. Given the air transport industry's current financial state, that price could be a hard pill to swallow, even at the low end. Still, such a potential market has induced avionics manufacturers, large and small, to focus on ADS-B technology. Turkish Air's lead Honeywell, for example, has developed its SmartTraffic, which incorporates the ADS-B function in its TPA100B traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS) computer. The system is called ATSAW (Airborne Traffic Situational Awareness) when factory installed on Airbus aircraft, and it will first be type certified by the European airframe manufacturer in an A330 for launch customer Turkish Airlines. Airbus plans to begin delivering A330s with the factory-option TPA100Bs later this year. Turkish Airlines also is having 12 Boeing 777s delivered with a full Honeywell suite of avionics that includes the TCAS/traffic computer, Mode S transponder, and the SmartRunway system, which uses ADS-B for pilot situational awareness while on the ground. Triple-7 deliveries are to run from this year to 2011. SmartTraffic software has been used to FAA test ADS-B applications, such as surface conflict detection and alerting. Its use is planned for transoceanic in-trail procedures demonstrated for FAA in 12 United Airline 747-400s. These aircraft will be equipped with a TPA100B derivative, an electronic flight bag (EFB) and TRA67B transponder. Test models predict a widebody aircraft could save $100,000 to $250,000 of fuel annually with in-trail procedures using ADS-B, according to Michael Grove, Honeywell's director of marketing and product management for surveillance systems. "It would allow a pilot to transition to altitudes with spacing of less than 60 nm," he explains. The flight trials will begin in 2011. Rockwell Collins has developed a hybrid, TCASII/Mode S transponder system, as well. The TSS4100 Traffic Surveillance System received its TSO in September 2009 and is initially targeted at the forward-fit market, according to Adam Evanschwartz, principal marketing manger, Commercial Systems, at Rockwell Collins. "It has a hardware platform -- a traffic computer -- for ADS-B In," he adds. "However, the software for ADS-B In applications are still a couple of years out." The system is expandable and will be able to accommodate various ADS-B applications, such as traffic information service-broadcast (TIS-B), cockpit display of traffic information (CDTI) and merging and spacing. Although it includes ADS-B capability, the integrated unit is no larger than the company's current TCASII, and requires only the single, combined-use antenna. The TSS4100 will be part of Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system, which will be offered first in the Bombardier Global family of business jets. Initial deliveries of aircraft equipped with Pro Line Fusion will be in 2011. Systems for general aviation and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Recognizing the need for a lightweight, low-cost ADS-B system, Mitre Corp. used internal funding to develop its UAT Beacon Radio. UAT, or Universal Access Transceiver, is another name for the 978 MHz data link. It is one link in FAA's two-link system, the other being the 1090 MHz link with extended squitter. UAT was established primarily for use in general aviation (GA) aircraft for surveillance applications and uplinking weather information. Weighing little more than a pound and about the size of two decks of cards, the single-board UAT transceiver was conceived with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and gliders in mind, according to Robert Strain, associate program manager at Mitre. "A main motivation for this radio is to help resolve the incorporation of UAVs in civil airspace," Strain says. "The UAT Beacon Radio satisfies the sense-and-avoid requirement for this. We looked at the UAT for UAV equipage because UAVs will probably fly at low altitudes, where GA aircraft operate."Development work on the UAT Beacon Radio is "largely completed," Hammer says, and the technology has been handed over to industry, which has discovered additional markets for small transceivers. "We hope our work has given them a head start," he adds. Two avionics manufacturers, FreeFlight Systems, in Waco, Texas, and Sandia Aerospace, in Albuquerque, N.M., have adopted Mitre's ADS-B transceiver technology and will soon have products on the market. They see a market beyond UAVs for a lightweight, low-cost ADS-B system to include operators of helicopters and small airplanes. "We're in the final testing of a prototype of our FDL-978TX transmitter, which provides ADS-B Out," says Jamie Luster, FreeFlight Systems' director of marketing and sales." She adds that the company plans to follow up with FDL-978TRX transceiver, accommodating ADS-B In. FreeFlight Systems plans to submit the receiver for FAA approval this summer and the transceiver before year's end. The 1.4-pound (0.64 kg) receiver would be the $4,000 price range, according to Luster. "But we hope to get the price lower." High demand could reduce the price. "We're also looking at offering an RS232 version, without ARINC 429 capability," she adds. "This would limit the avionics the system could interface with, but it also would lower the price." The FDL-978TRX would initially be priced at about $6,000. Both FreeFlight units will be certified to DO-282B and DO-154C standards. Meanwhile, Sandia Aerospace is developing two versions of a small, low-cost transceiver -- a remote version (mainly for UAVs) and a version with a control display unit (CDU) -- which it hopes to have available to customers during the second or third quarter of 2011, according to Dennis Schmidt, Sandia's founder and president. "We want to get the transceiver's price at or below $3,500," Schmidt says. The transceiver weighs 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg). In addition, Sandia has just introduced an interface that links the Garmin GNS430 or GNS530 navigation displays with Rockwell Collins' TDR-94D transponder to provide ADS-B Out service. The interface, located in the air data computer, converts the 1090 MHz signal from the transponder to a UAT signal for display on the Garmin screens. "GA aircraft and helicopters will be the big market for the interface," Schmidt says. Garmin, too, had its eye on the helicopter market, when it recently introduced the G500H cockpit display system, which interfaces with the company's GDL-90 data link transceiver. Garmin spokesperson Jessica Myers says the G500H was scheduled to be available during this yearâs second quarter.