GPS-squitter automatic dependent surveillance broadcast: flight testing in the Gulf of Mexico
October 13, 1995
During November - December 1994, MIT Lincoln Laboratory conducted a field evaluation of the air surveillance capabilities of GPS-Squitter in the Gulf of Mexico. Three squitter ground stations were located in the vincinity of Morgan City, Louisiana, for this evaluation: two were located on offshore oil platforms, and the third was located at an onshore heliport. Surveillance coverage tests were flown over the Gulf with three test aircraft - two helicopters and one Cessna 421 fixed wing aircraft. The helicopters flew at altitudes ranging from 100 to 2000 feet above sea level and the Cessna flew at 7500 and 20,000 feet. Extended squitter messages broadcast by each of the test aircraft provided aircraft position and identification. This report documents results of these texts and compares measured coverage to predicted coverage from the ground stations. Based on the good agreement between predicted and measured performance, a description of a possible operational system is included that would provide surveillance of the entire Gulf region serviced by oil platform helicopters. The report concludes that GPS Squitter is a near-term option for providing accurate, real time surveillance of aircraft operating in the offshore airspace in the Gulf of Mexico.