Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast

ADS-B is a Surveillance technique that relies on aircraft or airport vehicles broadcasting their identity, position and other information derived from on board systems (GNSS etc.).

Cockpit Display of Traffic Information

ADS-B is a Surveillance technique that relies on aircraft or airport vehicles broadcasting their identity, position and other information derived from on board systems (GNSS etc.). This signal (ADS-B Out) can be captured for surveillance purposes on the ground (ADS-B Out) or on board other aircraft in order to facilitate airborne traffic situational awareness, spacing, separation and self-separation (ADS-B In).

ADS-B is automatic because no external stimulus is required; it is dependent because it relies on on-board systems to provide surveillance information to other parties. Finally, the data is broadcast, the originating source has no knowledge of who receives the data and there is no interrogation or two-way contract.

At EUROCONTROL, our ADS-B activity supports our stakeholders in a comprehensive end-to-end approach (incl. operational, technical, planning and business aspects).

We address ground, airborne and space-based ADS-B aspects in all lifecycle phases from research and development, through implementation to operations and post-ops.

We work closely with all our stakeholders to ensure that the ADS-B benefits and performance improvements for the European ATM Network will be fully realised in an efficient and timely manner.

We aim at global interoperability through a close cooperation with organisations worldwide.

Ground side

We support the ground ADS-B implementation of the air navigation service providers (ANSPs). More than 1000 ADS-B ground stations have been deployed by European ANSPs over the last several years. These are part of multilateration systems (which consist of ADS-B stations), Mode S radars with ADS-B functionality, but also standalone ADS-B systems. This has established a very extensive and continuously expanding ADS-B coverage.

Airborne side

We address the airborne ADS-B implementation aspects. This includes monitoring of the ADS-B airborne equipage and support to the airspace users on implementation issues.

Up in space

The operational use of space-based ADS-B surveillance data started in 2019 and has been integrated since the end of April 2021 into the EUROCONTROL NM’s Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS). It is now supporting active operations and improving network performance. It will enrich ETFMS’s complex traffic demand and slot allocation calculations, which currently relied mainly on ground-based surveillance data and flight plan processing systems.

As a result, Europe’s primary flow management system will be more accurate in its trajectory predictions and unlock further capacity. The integration of space-based ADS-B real-time surveillance data covers the traffic inside NM area, the adjacent airspace around NM area and the long haul traffic 6h before it reaches NM area.


We co-led and contributed, over many years, to the standardisation of ADS-B technology, ground stations and all ADS-B applications (ground and airborne) in cooperation with EUROCAE and RTCA.

The ADS-B application standards include the operational service descriptions as well as the safety, performance and interoperability requirements.

Support to operational readiness

Our work with the stakeholders on ADS-B implementation and transition to operations supports ADS-B ground and airborne readiness.

This includes coordination and end-to-end support on tasks and topics such as:

  • operational use cases (short-term and medium-term)
  • implementation planning and monitoring
  • infrastructure performance monitoring
  • integration support
  • guidance material
  • support on the use of specifications and standards
  • maintenance of a list of non-performing aircraft
  • flight plan provisions
  • ADS-B validation functionality at sensor and data fusion levels (addressing anomalies and mitigating security risks)

We closely cooperate with EASA on ADS-B, including the preparation or updates of acceptable means of compliance and guidance material, as part of the wider cooperation agreement between the two organisations.


We coordinated and supported the implementation of the ADS-B airborne surveillance (so-called “ADS-B In”) initial applications and achieved initial operational capability (as part of our Air Traffic Situational Awareness - ATSAW pioneer project).

We currently support the follow-up standardisation work worldwide.

Cockpit Display of Traffic Information

Support to SESAR

We contribute to the SESAR Joint Undertaking work in projects related with ADS-B since the start of the SESAR programme. This includes areas such as surveillance strategy and roadmap, ground stations, data fusion, rationalisation, security etc.


EUROCONTROL has been coordinating and supporting ADS-B development and implementation in Europe since its inception, in the context of, amongst others, the CASCADE Programme (ADS-B and Multilateration) and its follow-up activities.

Working arrangements

The stakeholder coordination on the ADS-B work is performed by the Network Surveillance User Group (NSUR) and the Surveillance RF and Avionic Anomalies Resolution Group (SURFAR), which report to the Surveillance Steering Group (SUR SG).

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