With the Radio Direction Finder, the transmitting aircraft can be clearly identified on the controller’s screen. Image courtesy of Eurocontrol
The Radio Direction Finder has recently been deployed throughout Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre’s (MUAC) international airspace, Eurocontrol says. Its air traffic controllers can now improve their situational awareness in airspace that comprises the upper airspace of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and northwest Germany.
Based on its radio transmissions, the Radio Direction Finder can accurately calculate an aircraft’s position by rapidly identifying which aircraft is transmitting which frequency. This capability would be useful in densely occupied airspace — Eurocontrol says there are some MUAC sectors where controllers handle up to 25 aircraft simultaneously. It is also a prerequisite for the implementation of the free route airspace, slated for the end of 2017.
Controllers have integrated human machine interface, independent of conventional radar or GPS-based aircraft localizing techniques. Four Radio Direction Finder units have been deployed across Belgium, the Netherlands and northwest Germany. Three more are planned for deployment before summer. Once that happens, there would be minimum coverage of three units per aircraft in MUAC airspace.