The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is using novel radar technology from Cambridge business, Aveillant.
It has awarded a contract to the company to demonstrate the ability of its Holographic RadarTM technology to provide a spectrum-efficient alternative to S-band primary air traffic surveillance radar.
The UK government aspires to release 500 MHz of public spectrum by 2020 and has tasked the CAA with investigating the viability of options to release bandwidth in the current air traffic radar spectrum allocation in the ‘S Band’ between 2.7 and 2.9 GHz.
The CAA is investigating two options: to change and reduce the spectrum occupied by existing aerodrome radars, and to exploit new, spectrum efficient solutions that have potential to provide additional benefits to aviation.
Aveillant’s team of air traffic control and radar experts will demonstrate to the CAA a surveillance system that can enable all air traffic control radars in the UK to operate through a single frequency assignment, separate from the S Band. At present, each radar typically has its own assignment.
Aveillant is already leading the development of innovative solutions for air traffic control radar. Its 3D Holographic Radar™ is proven to successfully mitigate the effect of wind farms on radar and has excelled in trials held by US and UK aviation stakeholders. Aveillant’s radars use the L band frequency as opposed to the highly congested S band, used by many air traffic control radars and highly sought after by mobile phone operators.
Gordon Oswald, chief technology officer of Aveillant, said: “This is not a simple problem to solve, but based on our experience with Holographic Radar™ we’re confident that we are best placed to do so.
“Air traffic control radars cannot be simply shifted to another frequency, such as L band: this would then itself become too congested. At the same time, a much higher frequency is less suitable for long range air traffic control radar due to atmospheric effects.
“This problem is ripe for a solution that changes the way air traffic radars occupy bandwidth. It’s going to be a demanding project to show how this solution will work – but one that we’re well equipped to handle. We’re looking forward to working with the CAA to prove the viability of an approach that will be fit for purpose.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Aveillant CTO, Gordon Oswald