February 23, 2021 ByNaomi Szeben
Aireon LLC (Aireon) and Avinor Air Navigation Services (Avinor) announced an agreement to deploy space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) to monitor helicopter operations in the Bodo Oceanic Flight Information Region (FIR) and adjacent relevant airspace.
The area spans the Norwegian Basin and Barents Sea and the data provided for surveillance will focus specifically on ground-level helicopter movements through flight level 100. Avinor is a wholly owned, state limited company under the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications and is responsible for 44 state-owned airports and travel support for approximately 50 million passengers annually.
With the deployment of space-based ADS-B, Avinor will now have real-time traffic visibility throughout the region, providing an immediate increase in safety and search and rescue operations. This is the first space-based ADS-B use case specifically targeted for the monitoring and surveillance of helicopters. In this region, helicopters are required to be equipped with ADS-B antennas, making this low-flying traffic visible by the Aireon system. Aireon data will be transmitted in real-time to Avinor’s facilities and will be integrated into their air traffic automation platform.
“When the Aireon system was deployed in 2019 and during pre-operational testing, we had extraordinary visibility into helicopter movements,” said Don Thoma, CEO, Aireon in a statement. “Avinor is taking our data and applying it in the most innovative ways to enhance safety and rescue operations in their region. This paves the way for space-based ADS-B to be a best-in-class low-altitude monitoring solution available.”
“Space-based ADS-B will become an important component to our surveillance capabilities in the Arctic High North. We are pleased to be working with the Aireon team in this regard and are sure this will become an important tool for our air traffic controllers at the Polaris Area Control Centre in Bodø, Norway,” said Anders Kirsebom, CEO, Avinor Air Navigation Services.
Future considerations in the region include expanding the vertical limit on surveillance to also monitor commercial aircraft flying at higher altitudes.