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Air Navigation and Surveillance

Image of airplanes at sunset

Volpe’s Air Navigation and Surveillance Division develops and evaluates systems and procedures for traffic management to improve the safety, security, and effectiveness of aviation operations.

We perform analyses and conduct tests to determine the technical feasibility, operational applicability, and cost-effectiveness of sensors and systems.

Our team develops and evaluates new navigation and surveillance system electronics installed on the ground, in vehicles, and in space. Our team helps the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implement large-scale systems, including the following:

  • Data Communications (Data Comm): The replacement of voice communications with digital communications between the cockpit and air traffic controller.
  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B): A surveillance technology for tracking aircraft.
  • En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM): New systems to modernize air route traffic control centers.
  • Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP): The modernization of facilities that manage oceanic traffic flow.
  • Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X (ASDE-X): A runway safety tool to reduce potential runway conflicts.


  • Aircraft/vehicle surveillance system development
  • Concept of operation development and impact assessment
  • Aircraft navigation/landing system development
  • Frequency management standards development
  • Aviation system engineering
  • Radio-wave propagation and interference/jamming analysis
  • PMI-certified program management
  • Federal contracting expertise: Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) on large and small air traffic system development efforts
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2018