posted on Jun, 1 2013 @ 05:09 PM
As a follow up to flightradar24, they have now added multilateralization (MLAT) to their service.
To understand MLAT in some detail, check out:
In simpler terms, MLAT is a means to detect aircraft that do use mode-s but not ADS-B. Or in even simpler terms, you can track any aircraft with
mode-s even if it does not report its position.
To see planes on flightradar24 using MLAT, you need to be a premium member. As far as I know, you get that status if you supply flightradar24 a feed.
To see planes detected only with MLAT (as opposed to the FAA feed and/or ADS-B), you need to filter the results by showing only "radar" that is
T-MLAT. In my test today, I saw one plane via MLAT, and it was over Norway.
So now in theory, we could track the Janet flights right to Groom Lake if they leave their mode-s transponder on. But before you get too excited,
flightradar24 would need 4 receivers that can "see" the Janets. Given the terrain of their flight corridor and the lack of private land to locate
receivers, I think the odds of this happening are zero. Certainly there would be no chance to see them touch down. Other than on Tikaboo, it is hard
to get a L-band signal like mode-s coming from the base at ground level. From high spots around the range, I can track the Janets to about 1000ft AGL.
I'm guessing I could get to a few hundred feet from the Power Line Overlook. [I hate to scan from that location because the power lines make noise.]
But there is no way flightradar24 will ever have four receivers in a high viewing location simply because there is no infrastructure to support the
internet connection or even a power source. Now I suppose they could use Verizon data services and solar power, but there is still the problem of
finding a "host" for the hardware.
While on the topic of tracking the Janets, I have noticed the FAA feed (which is what flightaware and others use) has been showing the flights to the
Tonopah Test Range going over the range rather than over route 95. This may reflect reduced activity (fighter or test aircraft) over the range. But
the FAA feed is not always trustworthy, so this may not be reality.