Mode S and air traffic management
Airservices is replacing its existing terminal and en-route radars with modern Mode S radars.
Terminal area radars
In terminal areas, Airservices uses primary and secondary terminal area radars (TAR) backed up by nearby en-route radars. Primary radars operate to 50 nm and the secondary surveillance radar (SSR) to 250 nm. Airservices Australia has replaced these radars under its Australian Mode-S terminal area radar (AMSTAR) project.
En-route area radars
For these new radars operating in en-route areas, Airservices uses en-route radars (250 nm SSR only) and ADS-B for air traffic management and wide area multi-lateration (WAM). Most of the en-route radars are currently being replaced under the en-route radar replacement project (ERRP). These new radars will also operate in Mode S mode.
Mandates from 6 February 2014
Recognising the safety and efficiency advantages Mode S and ADS-B bring to air traffic management, we have mandated that newly registered aircraft operating under the IFR in controlled airspace, or above 10,000 ft in Class G, be fitted with ADS-B capable Mode S transponders from 6 February 2014. (Some exemptions apply to aircraft that cannot power a transponder.) This 6 February 2014 date for fitting of an ADS-B capable Mode S transponder also applies to existing aircraft if the transponder is replaced.
The relevant aircraft equipment standards and fitment requirements are included in Civil Aviation Order 20.18 at sections 9C (Mode S transponder standards) and 9E (carriage of Mode S equipment).