Short Term Conflict Alert - Description


ICAO Doc 4444 requires that radar systems should provide for the display of safety-related alerts including the presentation of actual and predicted conflict. It is worth mentioning that ICAO Doc 4444 does neither provide definitions of the term STCA nor conflict alert. Instead the term STCA is ambiguously used in ATC community to identify such alerts as well as for data processing systems providing the alert function.

As an implementation STCA is part of the predictive safety net functions. It uses surveillance information derived from radars, ADS-B or multilateration as well as environmental data and optional flight plan information in order to predict the movement of aircraft. This process is usually working unnoticeably to the air traffic controller unless a (potential) separation infringement is identified. In this case STCA will generate an alarm to inform the air traffic controller about the hazardous situation identifying the conflicting aircraft. Due to the uncertainty of trajectory prediction the look ahead time of STCA system is typically limited to approx. 2 minutes. Extending the look ahead time is not beneficial as more and more nuisance alerts will be generated.

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