Unlike any air traffic management system before it, multilateration supports a very wide range of surveillance applications without changing its basic equipment characteristics. The sensor units, data processing, communication links and essential infrastructure remain essentially identical, whatever the application.

Multilateration units supporting A-SMGCS surface surveillance can be expanded by the addition of further sensor units to provide high accuracy surveillance of the runway approach paths. This configuration can then be augmented with sensors deployed further from the airport, where the data can be directed to controllers handling incoming and departing traffic in the surrounding terminal airspace.

Finally, the identical sensors can be installed at much greater distances away where they can be arrayed in a wide area configuration to cover en route airspace between airports.

With multilateration, the system can be expanded without any loss of investment. Numerous ANSPs have expanded multilateration surface systems for terminal and en route coverage.

Such application flexibility offers significant financial benefit through minimal inventories of sensors and support spares, as well as the greatly reduced costs of service technician training compared to radar. And because of single unit familiarity, it also offers much faster fault diagnosis and repair, should that ever be necessary.

MLAT’s Unique Expansion Capability

MLAT’s support for multiple applications and expansion capability gives ANSPs a powerful ability to leverage investment. Numerous ANSPs around the world are exploiting this benefit to expand systems — for example, extending surface coverage for PRM, terminal or en route area coverage.

“ATNS considers that multilateration will form an important part of its surveillance network going forward, as it provides a cost effective and high performance means of extending surveillance services to areas not previously covered.”

Wrenelle Stander, TNS CEO