MIT Lincoln Laboratory TCAS surveillance performance
December 28, 2010
The Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) Version 7 surveillance requirements were developed in the mid-1990s with the use of limited radar data. Recently, a more comprehensive radar data source has become available, enabling a thorough analysis of TCAS surveillance performance throughouth the National Airspace System (NAS). This paper characterizes six high traffic terminal environments over three months. A busy one hour period was selected from each location for density and equipage measurements. This paper then describes the use of a high fidelity simulation to characterize TCAS surveillance performance in the isx locations. Transponder utilization due to TCAS and TCAS surveillance range are compared with the design requirements, including interference limiting specifications. The effect of TCAS surveillance activity on Air Traffic Control (ATC) ground radar performance is also investigated. Results indicate that the surveillance algorithms perform as intended and that TCAS has a minimal impact on ground radar. Areas of concern are noted for future investigation.