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5G-proof radar altimeters are coming | Flight Review

US airlines have begun installing new radar altimeters to avoid interference from 5G cell phones.

At the beginning of the year, aircraft manufacturers and airlines were huge Concerns about the introduction of the 5G mobile standard in the US. Because it cannot be ruled out that 5G will interfere with radar altimeters (also known as radio altimeters) and other aircraft systems. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has imposed restrictions on certain types of aircraft and airports, while mobile phone providers At&T and Verizon are still not allowed to fully roll out their 5G services at airports.


Regional airlines in particular are still hit by the restrictions: The FAA mandated that radio frequency filters be installed on planes that are particularly sensitive to interference from 5G by the end of this year.


Refurbishment of the Airbus A320 in the United States has now begun, French technology group Thales confirmed on September 14. 50 aircraft are already equipped with the upgraded ERT530R radio altimeter. There are about 2,000 orders for the system, which was approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA in July. On September 1, Thales received certification for the ERT540R for the A330 and A340. Thales claims it is the first company to offer 5G-resistant radar altimeters.


The ERT530R and ERT540R use a band pass filter that isolates signals within specific frequencies – in this case between 4.2 and 4.4 GHz. Radar altimeters work in this C-band frequency range. Signals above or below such as the 5G C-band between 3.7 and 3.98 GHz are weakened. According to Thales, the new radio altimeters can be installed with a simple unit swap.

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