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ADS-B Performance Requirements

Space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast

An aviation industry milestone was reached in March 2019 with the launch of space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (space-based ADS-B), ground-breaking technology that provides 100 percent world-wide surveillance coverage. 

In Canada, space-based ADS-B is expanding surveillance to remote areas previously not covered by surveillance and provides greater situational awareness for air traffic controllers and safety and efficiency benefits for pilots. Benefits include: 

  • Increased situational awareness through improved accuracy of aircraft position and trajectory. 
  • Earlier warnings and alerts of unexpected aircraft deviations. 
  • Improved emergency response for tracking and locating aircraft in distress. 


The ADS-B Out avionics performance standard required to take advantage of space-based ADS-B surveillance services is DO-260B or equivalent, including antennae able to broadcast out toward space-based ADS-B receivers. 

NAV CANADA continues with progress toward an ADS-B mandate that will benefit the aviation community in Canada. Assessment of a best approach that accounts for all stakeholder needs is ongoing, with the objective of providing a detailed notice once all coordination is complete.

For our space-based ADS-B receivers to acquire a reliable signal, an antenna is required to emit the signal toward the satellites. ADS-B Out transponder solutions that meet NAV CANADA's performance requirements currently available on the market include antenna diversity. Without this reliability, reduced separation using space-based ADS-B as surveillance would not be possible. 

We are currently working to develop the regulatory framework with Transport Canada to support an effective mandate. 

ADS-B is most effective for ATC surveillance if all aircraft are appropriately and homogeneously equipped. Moreover, it is inefficient to implement varying regulatory frameworks of performance standards. The performance requirements specified in the proposed mandate for ADS-B Out meet current and future ATC surveillance needs in Canadian domestic controlled airspace and are designed to meet the safety and efficiency needs for all our customers’ operations. 

The safety benefits of implementing space-based ADS-B surveillance through the proposed performance requirements mandate include: 

  • increased ATC situational awareness through improved accuracy of aircraft position and trajectory; 
  • earlier warnings/alerts of unexpected aircraft deviations; 
  • improved pilot situational awareness by using ADS-B In to see all ADS-B equipped traffic nearby;
  • implementation of common surveillance technology to current and new airspace for a more seamless operating environment; and 
  • improved emergency response for tracking and locating aircraft in distress. 

Customers who currently fly in airspace where space-based ADS-B is used for surveillance are already benefiting from the improved efficiency. Pilot situational awareness is also expected to improve immediately with ADS-B In capability. Additionally, the tracking capability of space-based ADS-B has been an invaluable tool for assisting in search and rescue operations.