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Airborne collision avoidance and other applications of time/frequency

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2 Author(s)
Perkinson, R.E. ; McDonnell Douglas Electronics, St. Charles, Mo. ; Watson, F.D.

Time/frequency technology provides a reliable aircraft collision avoidance system (CAS) that can operate in either synchronous or asynchronous modes. Precision time-ordered techniques of CAS provide both range and range-rate measurements in a one-way sense to all aircraft as well as ground stations within range of transmitted microwave signals. The cooperative system utilizes exact frequency references coupled with precise synchronization: control of frequency to 1 part in 108and time to less than 1 µs. In addition to performing specific functions of protecting aircraft, the time/frequency CAS provides a means for wide dissemination of submicrosecond timing. Flying clocks, which are an integral part of the airborne CAS, have been providing transcontinental and intercontinental transfer of time since 1964. CAS ground stations can serve as depositories of time and frequency derived from flying clocks, satellites, Loran-C and Omega navigation systems, or television transfer referenced to national and international time/frequency standards. Airborne relay of CAS time provides a ready means for local transfer of time to users that are not within line of sight to a ground station. Thus time and frequency can be disseminated for applications other than collision avoidance. In the process of developing the technology and originating CAS, new systems for communication, position determination, navigation, and vehicle surveillance evolved. Such systems can be structured to operate at high data rates, provide improved accuracy and use less RF spectrum than existing techniques.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:60 ,  Issue: 5 )