Aviation Week & Space Technology May 10 , 2010 , p. 50
Printed headline: Updating Indian ATM
ITT Defense & Information Systems is proposing to play the same systems integration role for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) radar in India that it is fulfilling in the U.S., but even as the Indians recognize ADS-B’s superior ability to track and control aircraft, they worry about its costs.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is pursuing an ITT system that would cover the entire subcontinent plus the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. As Indian skies become more crowded, AAI says ADS-B’s ability to precisely locate one aircraft’s position in relation to others will greatly enhance the Indian air traffic controllers’ management of takeoff, landing and transit operations.
“We are actively considering this [option],” says V. Somasundaram, executive director of AAI air traffic management. “However, the final decision depends on our business plan. We need to evaluate cost options.”
“The good news in India is around 300 aircraft are equipped with transponder technology already” that supports the ADS-B, says ITT Defense & Information Systems President David F. Melcher. ITT is leads systems integrator on the ADS-B ground infrastructure program in the U.S.
Under the proposed contract, ITT will be responsible for overall system integration and engineering and will operate and maintain the system after deployment through September 2025. In the U.S., ITT’s contract with the FAA is novel because it calls for an independent company to own and maintain the infrastructure, thereby absorbing the financial risks.
“We will provide the same contract for India, which clears away roadblocks,” says Melcher. “AAI has indicated that the ADS-B system should be in place in India by 2015. That’s faster than the U.S. This has a great potential for future growth in India.”
But enabling the system will require a survey and analysis of where to establish ground stations, which has not been done. “We will also need to ensure that airlines are willing to use the systems installed in the new-generation aircraft, as it involves an additional cost” to them, says Somasundaram. At the FAA’s invitation, he recently traveled to Dallas to observe ITT’s operations control center.
Melcher got good feedback after an ITT delegation headed by chairman, president and CEO Steven Loranger met leaders of the Indian civil aviation ministry last month. “They are supportive and interested,” he says.
It was the U.S.-India Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP), a public-private partnership between the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, FAA and U.S aviation companies, that initiated talks on implementing the FAA’s ADS-B model in India.
As the project progresses, the ACP will play an active role, says Melcher.