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ADS-B allows a plane to broadcast its GPS location to other planes and ground stations used by ATC.

The range is 200nm for A/A and 180nm for A/G (source).

Same SSR coverage issues would still impact oceanic areas.

But what if a train of planes (crossing the Atlantic for example) communicated what they see to each other, until the one closest to a ground station relayed all that information to an ATC facility? Is it being planned as a future update?

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  • $\begingroup$ It might not be that practical. By the time that all the data arrives to the ATC facility, the planes might be nowhere near they where when they sent the data. $\endgroup$ – DeepSpace Jun 20 '16 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ @DeepSpace, AFAIK there are two squits per second. So the delay would be under second per hop and that is not a problem. The problem is bandwidth. Higher bandwidth requires stronger signal and less interference, so in order to be reliable the signal uses pretty low bandwidth. Trying to forward position of other aircraft would require more bandwidth than the system is designed for. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Jun 20 '16 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec there are currently about 6 squitters per second. The delay is unrelated to the number of squitters per second. However, retransmission would require additional squitters which is a problem in an already heavily used frequency. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Jun 20 '16 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to do that (it's possible indeed), you need to add a routing method to the standard, to prevent at least loops forming in the dynamic network created. Routing is a wonderful world, full of surprises. $\endgroup$ – mins Jun 23 '16 at 23:48
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No, this is not being planned as a future update. The current ADS-B mandates of USA and Europe foresee ADS-B version 2 (EUROCAE ED-102A / RTCA DO-260B for 1090ES) to be implemented in 2020. Work on the development of version 3 of the standard has started but the retransmission of received data is not foreseen currently. Because of 1090 MHz spectrum overload, integrity, security and latency issues I don't think it is a particular good idea either.

For oceanic areas ADS-B coverage will be provided by satellites equipped with ADS-B receivers. Aireon is a company that will use the next generation of Iridium satellites to provide oceanic ADS-B coverage for ADS-B.

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