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Aerospace and Defense Channel / Industry News

Exelis airport ground vehicle surveillance solution to enhance surface safety at Denver and St. Louis airports

July 24, 2013

Denver International Airport (DEN), CO, and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL), MO, airports will use the ITT Exelis vehicle movement area transmitter (VMAT) solution to enhance airport surface safety and efficiency.

VMAT is a device that permits ground vehicles operating on the airport surface to broadcast their positions and uniquely identifiable call signs. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controllers can then view and track the vehicles, as well as appropriately equipped aircraft operating near the airport and on the airport surface. This enhanced situational awareness for air traffic controllers and aircraft pilots provides a complete picture of airport surface activity and enables greater safety and efficiency for airfield operations.

Forty VMAT devices are currently operational at STL, and 55 VMAT devices will soon be operational at DEN.

The goal at DEN is to bring an additional level of safety during regular and irregular operations, such as construction and snow removal, and in critical situations, such as aircraft emergency events. DEN will also use Exelis Symphony® MobileVueTM, a tablet and smartphone-based, real-time situational awareness solution that displays aircraft and vehicles on the airport surface and in the terminal area.

"At Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, we recognized the safety and operational benefits of equipping our key airfield support fleets, such as Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighter, operations, snow plows and maintenance vehicles," said Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, director, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. "Having a common airfield operating picture for our air traffic controllers and key airport staff is a core component of airport surface operations."

The Exelis VMAT devices became available in November 2012 when the FAA certified them as fully compliant with the stringent requirements of its Advisory Circular 150/5220-26. This certification ensures that the devices are properly installed and configured in airport vehicles, properly maintained, and fully compliant with FAA standards for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). Vehicles operating with VMAT devices have their transmissions automatically detected by FAA ADS-B receivers and delivered to air traffic controller positions for complete airport-wide situational awareness anywhere, anytime. 

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