Airport Improvement Program

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JWA Traffic Control Tower with surface movement radar equipment



ASDE-X Antenna at JWA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently installed the most technologically advanced ground radar system, known as Airport Surface Detection Equipment-Model X, or ASDE-X, at John Wayne Airport. Currently, there are 29 airports nationwide utilizing this new runway-safety tool.

ASDE-X enables air traffic controllers to detect potential runway conflicts by providing detailed coverage of movement on runways and taxiways. By collecting data from a variety of sources, ASDE-X is able to track vehicles and aircraft on the airport movement area and obtain identification information from aircraft transponders.

The data that ASDE-X uses comes from surface movement radar located on the air traffic control tower, multilateration sensors, ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) sensors, the terminal automation system, and aircraft transponders. By fusing the data from these sources, ASDE-X is able to determine the position and identification of aircraft and transponder-equipped vehicles on the airport movement area, as well as aircraft flying within five miles of the airport.

Controllers in the tower see this information presented as a color display of aircraft and vehicle positions overlaid on a map of the airport's runways/taxiways and approach corridors. The system essentially creates a continuously updated map of the airport movement area that controllers can use to spot potential collisions. It will be especially helpful to controllers at night or in bad weather when visibility is poor.

For additional information on ASDE-X, please contact John Wayne Tower support staff at 714.668.0141.


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John Wayne Airport - Eddie Martin Administration Building, 3160 Airway Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA 92626