Air Transport World

Satellite data link tried over Atlantic.

Washington, D.C.--First aeronautical satellite data link system tailored to provide transoceanic communications and navigation services was flight tested in August by a joint industry team. Initial indications are that the test was highly successful and, although results still are being evaluated, participants heralded the operation as "a key factor in advancing the day when reliable, highly precise air navigation and communications over the North Atlantic will be available to the world's air transport industry."

The research and development program, developed and directed by the nonprofit Mitre Corp., McLean, Va., was launched three years ago. The prime purpose of the Mitre-led effort is to "determine the technical viability" of such a system.

Mitre's objective was to use essentially off-the-shelf equipment and materials integrated into a system that would provide these functions: automatic transmission to ATC of position data derived on the aircraft from on-board systems, including Global Positioning System (Navstar), making automatic surveillance possible for the first time in such an environment; direct, clear and reliable air traffic control communications; automatic relay of ACARS (company radio) data link messages; and a continuous relay of in-flight weather information to the ATC system. …

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