German Airports Deploy Rohde & Schwarz Direction Finding Systems

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH has commissioned Rohde & Schwarz with the procurement and commissioning of new direction finders for six German airports. In addition to the DFS center in Langen, the towers in Nuremberg, Hamburg, Münster/Osnabrück, Stuttgart, and Hanover will be equipped with the new direction-finding systems. The new generation provides valuable information during communications between the pilot and controller for safe air traffic control. 

Rohde & Schwarz direction finding systems have been in use at the six sites since the 1990s. However, the introduction of the 8.33 kHz channel spacing in aeronautical communications made it necessary to replace the devices. R&S won the project bid in a public tender conducted by DFS. The DFS order not only encompasses the new R&S DF-ATC-S2 and R&S DF-ATC-S3 direction finding systems, but it also includes extensive services for installation and commissioning. Rohde & Schwarz will also be responsible for adapting the interface to the existing DFS air traffic management system. DF data is transmitted via this system in order to merge it with information from other sources such as radar or ADS-B and display the results on ATC air traffic controller workstations.

The new direction finders are compact and suitable for outdoor applications. The entire system is enclosed in a weatherproof, air-conditioned housing and mounted directly on the mast. DFS does not have to provide additional weather protection for the sensitive electronics. The direction finders only need a power supply and an IP connection. They are extremely powerful, process signals digitally and can take bearings on several ATC frequencies simultaneously. 

Direction finders are not mandatory for air traffic safety, but they greatly facilitate the work of air traffic controllers and contribute to aviation safety. The direction finders detect the direction of radio signals from the calling aircraft and transmit this information. This helps air traffic controllers instantaneously identify aircraft and prevent misunderstandings. Rohde & Schwarz direction finders reduce the risks associated with similar-sounding call signs and noisy radio communications in areas with increasingly dense air traffic.