OpenSky Network Blog

Monday, 15 January 2018 10:49

Do Military Aircraft use ADS-B? Featured

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Yes, they do, at least partially, but there are massive differences between countries.

Let’s add some data to this popular question, shall we? This is from our recent paper at the 36th Digital Avionics Systems Conference [1]. We collected ADS-B and Mode A/C/S data from over 6000 aircraft operated by militaries all over the world (with a strong focus on Europe/the US) using the The OpenSky Network. The key plot to answer the question is the following:


adsb ehs per county

As we can see, the military ADS-B adoption rate varies between around 10% in Israel to 90% in Saudi Arabia.

The same, a bit more detailed, for some selected countries:

equipment used per category percentage

Here, you see the share of aircraft which use Mode S only or additional comms, ACAS, ADS-B, or all three.

Finally, we know that military aircraft can switch off ADS-B when they choose to. This happens regularly, some only really seem to use it en-route in “safe” airspaces but switch it off for their approach to make it ever so slightly harder to see where they land (well, not really but that’s another story). But for that, and other information such as ADS-B equipage per aircraft type, you’ll have to read the full paper.



[1] Matthias Schäfer, Martin Strohmeier, Matthew Smith, Markus Fuchs, Vincent Lenders, Marc Liechti and Ivan Martinovic. OpenSky Report 2017: Mode S and ADS-B Usage of Military and other State Aircraft. In IEEE/AIAA 36th Digital Avionics Systems Conference. September 2017.

You can find all publications that use data from OpenSky on our Publications page.

Read 17313 times Last modified on Monday, 15 January 2018 14:36
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