The global Aviation industry understands that it needs to upgrade its airport surface communications systems. With over 100 slot-limited airports in the US and Western Europe alone and the current system pushed to its limits, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and EUROCONTROL/SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) have identified the Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications System (AeroMACS) to support this ever growing need for increased data communications and information sharing on the airport surface. AeroMACS will help to achieve the necessary efficiency gains by providing increased transmission of Air Traffic Control (ATC) and Airline Operations Communications (AOC) on the airport surface.
AeroMACS is a broadband wireless communications system that can support the transmission of safety and regularity of flight data for both fixed and mobile applications on the airport surface. It is based on the mature WiMAX standard (IEEE 802.16e) and operates in the protected aviation spectrum band from 5091 MHz to 5150 MHz. The AeroMACS Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) and the AeroMACS Profile document have been jointly developed and approved by RTCA and EUROCAE. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has approved the AeroMACS Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS), which will help guarantee manufacturer interoperability and Global harmonization through certified equipment. The ARINC AEEC has unanimously approved the initiation of the AeroMACS Standards that will enable the system to be installed in Commercial type aircraft. The initial applications will likely be used to support the existing Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) in the cockpits.
Following the technology recommendations of EUROCONTROL and the FAA, the WiMAX Forum instituted the Aviation Working Group (AWG) within its organizational structure to collaborate on AeroMACS. The AWG acts as a focal point for Worldwide Aviation Industry interests in AeroMACS technology for Aviation Applications on a global basis by defining requirements and technology profiles that drive the network, air interface specifications, certification, and products to ensure the development of a healthy ecosystem of interoperable, Aviation-centric product solutions. Commercial WiMAX vendors with AeroMACS equipment available now include Gemtek, Hitachi, Selex, Siemens, Telrad, and Thales. The WiMAX Forum has also been partnering with the following aviation industry and regulatory organizations to establish study groups to help advance the development, standardization, and testing of AeroMACS.
Major strengths of AeroMACS are its flexibility, reliability, and scalability. It presents a significantly lower cost and less disruptive alternative to the current cable loop technology being used and has the capacity to support a wide range of air traffic applications providing connectivity for fixed and mobile assets across the airport area. Hundreds of potential applications have been identified to support the following operational domains:
Since 2007, an AeroMACS Trial has been underway at the NASA Glenn Research Center Testbed located on the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to enable the standard validation. In 2015, more than 20 airports worldwide are in the process of, or have completed testing AeroMACS, including Boston Logan Airport, Chengdu Airport, Dallas Fort Worth Airport, Daytona Airport, Melbourne Airport, Milan Malpensa Airport, Oberpfaffenhofen Airport, San Francisco Airport, Sendai Airport, Syracuse Airport, Toulouse Airport, and Otis Air Force Base.
The WiMAX Forum is committed to helping the global aviation industry upgrade its airport surface communications systems with powerful and economical solutions, and participation in the WiMAX Forum AWG is open to all WiMAX Forum member companies. If your company is not a member, email us to learn more about how you can participate: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more about joining the WiMAX Forum today!
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