ICAO-GADSS Standards

The standards were developed by the ARINC Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC) based on tracking requirements and objectives for airline operators developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the Doc 10054 on locating aircraft in distress.
This ICAO Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) requirement is already enforced in some regions and is required everywhere by January 1, 2021.

Blue Sky Network ADT System

ADT Autonomous Distress Tracking Device

HawkEye ADT

The HawkEye ADT is the first aircraft device developed to provide airline operations centers (AOCs) full autonomous distress tracking (ADT) compliance with ICAO-GADSS.

SkyRouter Command Center

SkyRouter is a cloud-based fleet management solution that can track, monitor, and provide communications for all your assets, anywhere in the world, from one online portal. SkyRouter communicates with tracking hardware to provide a secure web interface that displays positions on various overlay maps. It also handles two-way message traffic, events, alerts, and telematic data. SkyRouter lets you monitor, control, interact, and communicate with your assets in real-time, from anywhere.


Iridium Satellite Network

Iridium operates the world’s largest commercial constellation, with a mesh architecture of 66 cross-linked low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites providing inherent performance and dependability advantages. At only 476 miles (780 km) from the Earth, the proximity of Iridium’s LEO network means pole-to-pole coverage, a shorter transmission path, stronger signals, lower latency and shorter registration times.
Iridium’s global constellation is supported by a recently upgraded, extensive ground infrastructure that ensures high reliability and capacity of the communications network through multiple layers of redundancy, security, and back-up systems for all critical functions.

Complete ICAO-GADSS Compliance

The HawkEye ADT is the key component of the Blue Sky Network ADT system and it is set to provide full alignment with ICAO-GADSS defined concept of operations.
ICAO-GADSS Compliance Comparison Chart
(1) Ground-based and space-based ADS-B have significantly different capabilities
(2) Architecture requires additional component(s) to process input from aircraft systems and to detect and trigger ADT logic
(3) Only if Iridium-based
(4) Space-based ADS-B only
(5) Not required if reliable ATS surveillance is always available at 15-minute or better intervals
(6) Assumed, but unclear at this point
(7) Power only; not resilient to communication/navigation systems failures
(8) Examples include automated take-off / landing, 3D geofencing, variable reporting rates, OOOI times, ETA, ETE, route deviations, etc.


Following several recent high profile accidents where downed aircraft could not be efficiently located, or at all, the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) recommendations were adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in March 2016.

The GADSS concept of operations is to provide autonomous global, end-to-end tracking of commercial flights so that an aircraft is never “lost.” It focuses on the detection of aircraft in distress anywhere in the world. It supports accurate tracking throughout the flight so the search and rescue (SAR) procedure can be initiated, if required, and rescuers directed to the correct location. This process enables more efficient SAR operations as well as timely retrieval of the flight data recorder (FDR).

To make aircraft flight safer, ICAO has identified tracking components and technologies for three operation phases:

  • Aircraft tracking (AT) during normal operations – The aircraft position information needs to be updated and available to the airline operations center (AOC) and air traffic services (ATS) and provide:
    • 100% global coverage
    • Automated 4D 15-minute tracking
    • Two-way link between GADSS system and the AOC
  • Autonomous distress tracking (ADT) during abnormal operations – The aircraft position information needs to be updated and additionally provide:
    • Independent detection of aircraft in distress
    • Autonomous activation of one-minute reporting when an aircraft is in a distress condition, without the need for flight crew action
    • Automated 3D one-minute tracking
    • Resilience to loss of aircraft power, communication and navigation systems
  • Post-flight localization and recovery – Accurate aircraft position information to locate aircraft within 6 NM of termination.

The aircraft tracking function under normal operations was applicable on November 8, 2018.

As of January 1, 2021, all three standards of GADSS will apply to all new-built aircraft with take-off weight greater than 27,000 kg. Other new aircraft with take-off weight greater than 5,700 kg are also recommended to comply with the GADSS requirement from the same date.

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