Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans handles over 12 million passenger movements a year. With so many goods and passengers entering and exiting the airspace, it was essential that the airport use a cost-effective, efficient solution to securely transmit valuable air traffic information.

To manage operational air traffic management (ATM) information efficiently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) required a secure communication system that maintained strict performance requirements ensuring information is not lost due to bandwidth demands. In addition, the solution needed to be quick and cost-effective to implement on site.

Harris delivered the Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications System (AeroMACS) to meet these demands.

AeroMACS is designed to reduce cost and implementation schedules by minimizing construction needs while meeting functional, performance and security requirements. It supports a wider range of ATM communications technology than its predecessors. AeroMACS also provides greater efficiencies like higher speeds and greater bandwidths than its predecessor, Cable Loop Communications Systems.

AeroMACS Tower Operations

AeroMACS securely sends data from operational equipment located around the airfield to the ATC tower and beyond. To meet availability requirements, Harris AeroMACS uses redundant equipment that ensures continued operations should there be individual component failures. The solution increases information efficiencies at each location and greatly reduces unnecessary hardware costs compared to expensive terrestrial connections.

“Implementing wireless technology for our air traffic infrastructure is another step toward preparing our National Airspace System (NAS) for the next generation of air transportation,” said Kelle Wendling, Vice President and General Manager, Harris Mission Networks. “As we continue to develop innovative technologies, like AeroMACS, that deliver significant benefits for the NAS, we must keep safety in mind.”

After only a year, AeroMACS is operational at New Orleans and Portland airports. The system is scheduled for additional deployments at 17 airports across the United States to provide better access to surface information and track aircraft before takeoff.

As new airports come online with AeroMACS technology, Harris and the FAA will continue to provide a gold standard of both security and efficiency for the flying public. Wireless technology is only the beginning when it comes to safely deploying new solutions in the NAS and there are many more on the horizon. With 5G, cloud computing and other technologies coming relatively soon, the FAA will need cost-effective wireless solutions they can depend on to facilitate safer, more effective information sharing than ever before.