Civil air traffic control

Munich 22.04.2020

Aerial installation of CERTIUM LOCATE DF antenna

Rohde & Schwarz performed a spectacular installation of its latest direction finding antenna by helicopter for DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH.

An antenna for the R&S DF-ATC direction finding solution, part of the CERTIUM LOCATE family, is mounted by helicopter for DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (Image: Rohde & Schwarz)
An antenna for the R&S DF-ATC direction finding solution, part of the CERTIUM LOCATE family, is mounted by helicopter for DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (Image: Rohde & Schwarz)

In an outstanding effort, the latest direction finding (DF) antenna from Rohde & Schwarz, part of the CERTIUM LOCATE family, was installed by helicopter in an almost inaccessible location for DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider. These DF antennas are part of the new ATC direction finding solution (R&S DF-ATC), a system designed especially for ATC controllers that obtains accurate DF results for up to 32 channels in parallel. The system belongs to the larger CERTIUM LOCATE family.

Having completed five of the six contracted installations, the last proved to be the most challenging. The site was located within a forest and accessible only via a narrow track, making it unpassable for a truck-mounted crane. In order to avoid cutting down part of the forest, a more environmentally friendly aerial installation was chosen.

In 2018, DFS awarded Rohde & Schwarz a contract for R&S DF-ATC systems at the DFS center in Langen and five German airports (Nuremberg, Hamburg, Münster/Osnabrück, Stuttgart and Hanover). The systems increase the air traffic controller's situational awareness by clearly referencing calling aircraft on a radar screen. The ATC DFs are housed in weatherproof units and usually mounted underneath a DF antenna that is three meters in diameter and weighs 120 kilograms. They are typically installed at a height of five meters, but to be taller than the surrounding trees, this was increased to 35 meters.

To reduce risks, the company avoided the winter season and performed the installation in late March. A special permit also needed to be obtained from local authorities. Despite adverse winds and the current security situation, the previous DF antenna could be removed from the helicopter and then the new DF antenna was held in position while a technician secured it on top of the mast.

"Installation by helicopter was a very special challenge and certainly not without risk, while the current security situation made it even more complicated organizationally," explains Henrik Rausch, Senior Program Manager Monitoring and Network Testing at Rohde & Schwarz. "Site by site, we delivered and installed new direction finders and we are very proud to provide DFS with our latest technology. We have an excellent partnership with our customer, who benefits from our expertise in providing complete ATC direction finding systems as a turnkey solution. It is part of our advanced CERTIUM universe."

Press & media contact

Dennis-Peter Merklinghaus
PR Manager Aerospace, Defense & Security
+49 89 4129 15671
press@rohde-schwarz.com

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Rohde & Schwarz

Rohde & Schwarz is a leading supplier of solutions in the fields of test and measurement, broadcast and media, aerospace | defense | security and networks and cybersecurity. The technology group's innovative communications, information and security products help industry and government customers ensure a safer and connected world. On June 30, 2019, Rohde & Schwarz had about 12,100 employees. The independent group achieved a net revenue of EUR 2.14 billion in the 2018/2019 fiscal year (July to June). The company is headquartered in Munich, Germany, and has subsidiaries in more than 70 countries, with regional hubs in Asia and America.

R&S® and CERTIUM® are registered trademarks of Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG.

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