UAE buys QinetiQ-COMSOFT air traffic surveillance system

27 Jun 2007

Quadrant ADS-B system to be installed at Abu Dhabi; US FAA NextGen decision awaited

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates has purchased a Quadrant ADS-B air traffic surveillance ground station as part of its current air traffic control automation system upgrade. The deal was secured by COMSOFT, QinetiQ’s development, manufacturing and marketing partner for the Quadrant ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast) system.

The deal comes as the US Federal Aviation Administration is considering bids for its own ADS-B system, the first step of the FAA’s next generation air transportation system, known as NextGen. The Quadrant ADS-B system is part of an integrated solution being proposed to the FAA for NextGen by Raytheon, who lead a consortium that includes QinetiQ.

It is widely expected within the air transport industry that ADS-B will be the leading global air traffic surveillance technology in the near future, bringing accuracy, fidelity, safety and cost benefits. Aircraft equipped with ADS-B technology continuously broadcast location, airspeed and identification information to air traffic controllers. These transmissions provide a highly accurate air traffic picture to controllers and pilots of other ADS-B equipped aircraft.

COMSOFT’s contract with the GCAA of the UAE allows for the upgrade of the UAE’s existing air traffic control system in order to meet the growing demands of the rapidly increasing number of flights controlled by the GCAA. The programme will include the pilot installation and integration of a Quadrant ADS-B system in the Abu Dhabi area before the end of the year. This will allow the GCAA to gain valuable pre-operational experience with this emerging surveillance technology and to define and validate operational standards for the use of ADS-B in a mixed environment consisting of radar and ADS-B sensors.

Julian Rose, QinetiQ’s Director of Air Traffic Management Solutions, said: “The productisation of Quadrant began only last November, following a partnership deal with COMSOFT. The deal secured with the UAE represents a great success for the product, COMSOFT and QinetiQ and is evidence of our strengthening partnership.

“I am excited by the undoubted global potential of ADS-B and the role that Quadrant might play. Being part of Raytheon’s team bidding into the FAA’s ADS-B programme represents a fantastic opportunity and we hope to build on the early successes achieved through our partnership with COMSOFT. These successes in turn have been built on QinetiQ’s 50-plus years of heritage in air traffic management.”

About Quadrant: Quadrant was developed by QinetiQ and a memorandum of understanding signed last year enabled COMSOFT, a leading international supplier of Air Traffic Management (ATM) solutions to both commercial and military markets, to manufacture, commercialise and market Quadrant exclusively in cooperation with QinetiQ.

Quadrant ADS-B is an autonomous ADS-B ground station for the reception of 1090 MHz extended squitter signals. Consisting of the highly integrated Quadrant ADS-B sensor and its 1090 MHz/GPS antenna system, the Quadrant ADS-B ground station provides a compact and self-contained site installation. Its potential for an outdoor setup combined with its low-power consumption and maintenance-free operation caters for installations even at isolated and remote locations.

About Raytheon’s ADS-B FAA programme proposal: Raytheon's FAA proposal is also supported by Verizon Business, ARINC, XM Satellite Radio, Sun Microsystems Inc., Flight Explorer, Apptis, and Intelligent Automation Inc. The FAA is expected to announce its preferred bidder later this summer.

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UAE buys QinetiQ-COMSOFT air traffic surveillance system