ATCRBS Radar Environment for AWE (TACO Addendum)
- The US Congress has approved funding to replace the existing Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System (ATCRBS) with a GPS enabled system as part of NextGen starting about 2014. The transition will be slow & both types of technology will coexist for a long period. Radar is still rapidly improving as a tool (Mode S) even as questions about GPS over-reliance persist.Standard ATCRBS is capable of providing the data required for managing large AWECS arrays in shared airspace, but the AWE Utility needs to operate its own system or somehow get its data in realtime from governmantal ATC. The critical AWE data needed is how well elements keep station or fly patterns, plus detecting intrusions from outside for "sense & avoid". Radar transponders are a major feature, but not really needed operationally by an AWECS, as each element is constrained by tether(s) in its known airspace. Airspace management may not need an AWECS transponder squawk since a kite farm is more like a persistent obstruction marked on the airspace.GPS will eventually provide far more functionality with adequate security, but it may be the riskier R&D play if competing with secondhand or futher optimized ATCRBS systems of higher security. A KIS advantage is not to fly any more avionics that absolutely necessary, for reasons of O&M, weight, power, etc. An AWECS radar system can be almost entirely ground-based.