Doc 9718 an/957 Handbook on Radio Frequency Spectrum Requirements for Civil Aviation

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Doc 9718


Handbook on Radio

Frequency Spectrum Requirements for

Civil Aviation

Volume I

ICAO spectrum strategy, policy

statements and related information

First Edition — 2014

All excerpts from the ITU Radio Regulations are presented against a shaded background and are reproduced in this handbook with the authorization of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which has the copyright on this material.

International Civil Aviation Organization

Published in separate English, French, Russian and Spanish editions by the


999 University Street, Montréal, Quebec, Canada H3C 5H7

For ordering information and for a complete listing of sales agents

and booksellers, please go to the ICAO website at

First Edition 2014

Doc 9718, Handbook on Radio Frequency Spectrum Requirements

for Civil Aviation

(Volume I, ICAO spectrum strategy, policy statements and related information)

Order Number: 9718-1

ISBN 978-92-9249-407-0

© ICAO 2014
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a

retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior

permission in writing from the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Amendments are announced in the supplements to the Catalogue of ICAO Publications; the Catalogue and its supplements are available on the ICAO website at The space below is provided to keep a record of such amendments.






Entered by



Entered by

The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of ICAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Historical background
ICAO’s Special Communications/Operations Divisional Meeting held in 1995 (Special COM/OPS/95) noted that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had begun to convene its World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRCs) every three to four years. While divisional-type ICAO meetings had traditionally developed positions on WRC agenda items related to aviation, it was evident that it was not feasible to convene such meetings frequently enough to keep pace with this schedule of WRCs. The Special COM/OPS/95 meeting recognized the importance of keeping up with the rapid development in telecommunications and consequently recommended that a new mechanism be developed to enable civil aviation to record its agreed requirements for aeronautical radio frequency spectrum in an adequate and timely manner.
The meeting accordingly recommended that an ICAO radio frequency (RF) document be developed and maintained (Recommendation 7/1). The Air Navigation Commission, at its meeting on 19 June 1995 (ANC 139-10), approved the recommendation for action. Subsequently, ICAO developed this Handbook on Radio Frequency Spectrum Requirements for Civil Aviation and the first edition was published in 1998.
Recommendation 7/1 — ICAO radio frequency (RF policy document on the aeronautical utilization of the RF spectrum
That ICAO develop and maintain a document (rolling plan) containing policy statements and other elements relevant to the utilization of the frequency spectrum with a view to assisting States and ICAO in their preparation for future ITU world radiocommunication conferences.

Status of the handbook
This handbook contains the ICAO spectrum strategy and policy statements relevant to the aviation requirements for radio frequency spectrum, as approved and amended by the ICAO Council.
The handbook is intended to assist States and ICAO in preparing for ITU conferences. The ICAO Position on matters of interest to aviation on the agenda of ITU WRC-15 is included in Attachment F. The strategy for establishing and promoting the ICAO Position for future ITU WRCs is in Attachment E.

The material in this handbook is supplementary to the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) contained in Annex 10 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation — Aeronautical Telecommunications, which continue to have precedence and applicability for those aspects covered by their provisions.

Amendments to this handbook will be made on a regular basis so that the material will represent the latest position on the spectrum requirements for civil aviation. Towards this end, the Recommendations of divisional-type meetings and air navigation conferences as well as the findings and Recommendations of ICAO panels and other (e.g. regional) bodies, as approved by the Air Navigation Commission and Council as appropriate, are expected to be among the main sources of information. Changes may also be necessary as a result of decisions taken at ITU WRCs.
Results of ongoing activities in ICAO on spectrum management are available on the website for the Aeronautical Communications Panel (ACP) at ACP Working Group F is undertaking the activities on preparation and coordination of material, including the development of the draft ICAO Position, in particular for ITU WRCs, ITU-R study group meetings and meetings of regional telecommunication organizations.

Organization of the handbook
The handbook consists of two volumes:
Volume I contains the ICAO spectrum strategy and policy statements. It updates and replaces the material previously contained in the fifth edition of Doc 9718 published in 2010.
Volume II contains technical material on the utilization of radio frequency spectrum by aviation.
Volume I is structured as follows:
Chapter 1 introduces the subject of radio frequency spectrum management.
— Chapter 2 defines the objectives and purpose of the handbook.
— Chapters 3 to 5 describe the institutional aspects and the relationships between the main participants (ITU, ICAO, national authorities, etc.).
— Chapter 6 contains an overview of the spectrum management process.
— Chapter 7, which is divided into four sections, contains the principal elements of the handbook. Each frequency band and its uses are described in detail, together with the approved ICAO policy statements for the civil aviation spectrum requirements in that band. Also included are relevant provisions (Regulations), Resolutions and Recommendations which are contained in the ITU Radio Regulations.
— Chapter 8 contains the ICAO spectrum strategy and addresses future requirements of frequencies for civil aviation.
— Chapter 9 describes the elements of a framework of rules and preventative measures for the regulation and control of interference.
— Attachment A provides a selection of relevant ITU definitions.
— Attachment B contains acronyms and abbreviations used in the handbook.
— Attachment C gives an overview of the regulatory aspects of radio equipment in aircraft.
— Attachment D addresses the processes and sequence of actions for the review and updating of the handbook.
— Attachment E contains the ICAO strategy for improving support for the ICAO Position.
— Attachment F contains the ICAO Position for ITU WRC-15, as approved by the Council on 27 May 2013.
— Attachment G contains technical information and frequency sharing criteria.
— Attachment H references relevant ITU Resolutions and Recommendations which are incorporated in the ITU Radio Regulations.

Action by Member States and ICAO
States are requested to use the material in this policy document, as it is necessary and opportune, in their national discussions on matters relating to the use of the radio frequency spectrum by international civil aviation. In particular, the ICAO spectrum strategy, the ICAO policy statements and the ICAO Position for ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) should be utilized and incorporated in proposals from States for ITU WRCs, meetings of the ITU-R sector (ITU-R Study Groups) and meetings of regional telecommunication organizations as the up-to-date agreement within ICAO on the reference subject. ICAO observers at these conferences and meetings may also, as necessary, use the material from the document as the agreed ICAO policy for international civil aviation purposes.

The texts extracted from ITU material have been reproduced with the prior authorization of the ITU as copyright holder.
The sole responsibility for the selection of these extracts lies with ICAO alone and can in no way be attributed to the ITU.
The complete volume(s) of the ITU material from which the texts are reproduced in this handbook can be obtained from:
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

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Telephone: +41 22 730 61 42 (French)

Telephone: +41 22 730 61 43 (Spanish)

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Note 1.— Although this handbook includes relevant provisions from the ITU Radio Regulations, these extracts are not complete and the handbook should therefore be used in conjunction with the full text of the ITU Radio Regulations and the relevant ITU-R Recommendations.
Note 2.— Throughout this handbook, extracts from the ITU Radio Regulations are presented against a shaded background.



Chapter 1.    Introduction 1-1
Chapter 2.    Objectives and Purpose 2-1
Chapter 3.    The International Telecommunication Union 3-1
Chapter 4.    The ITU Regulatory Framework for Aeronautical

    Radio Services 4-1

4.1 The ITU Radio Regulations 4-1

4.2 Communications 4-2

4.3 Navigation and surveillance 4-4

4.4 Relationship between ITU Radio Regulations and

other material and ICAO SARPs 4-5

4.5 Frequency coordination and registration 4-6

4.6 ITU standards 4-7

4.7 ITU Resolutions and Recommendations 4-7

4.8 Radio equipment in aircraft 4-7
Chapter 5.    ICAO Involvement in Frequency and Spectrum

    Planning 5-1

Chapter 6.    Overview of the Spectrum Management Process 6-1
6.1 General aspects of the process 6-1

6.2 Elements of the technical domain 6-4

6.3 The role of technology in spectrum management 6-7

6.4 Aeronautical services 6-7

6.5 Spectrum management in the future 6-8

6.6 Spectrum management summary 6-10

Chapter 7.    Statement of Frequency Allocations, Technical

    Details and ICAO Policy 7-1

Section 7-I.    List of frequency bands 7-2

Section 7-II.   Civil aviation frequency allocations —

    ICAO policy statements and related information 7-11

Section 7-III.    Radio Regulations and other ITU material of

    importance to aeronautical services 7-156

Section 7-IV.    Review of ITU Resolutions

    and Recommendations 7-188
Chapter 8.    ICAO Spectrum Strategy 8-1
8.1 Introduction 8-1

8.2 ICAO spectrum strategy 8-1

8.3 Future systems and strategy evolution 8-14

8.4 Challenges 8-15

Chapter 9.    Interference Protection Considerations 9-1
9.1 Introduction 9-1

9.2 Regulatory aspects 9-1

9.3 Management and control of interference 9-11

9.4 Assessment of protection for aeronautical radio services 9-13

9.5 Some special cases 9-17

9.6 General protection limits for aeronautical radio 9-20

Attachment A.    Definitions and Terms Used in the

    ITU Radio Regulations Relevant to Aviation A-1

1. Introduction A-1
Attachment B.    Acronyms and Abbreviations B-1
Attachment C.    The Regulation of Radio in Aircraft C-1
1. Introduction C-1

2. Background C-1

3. The regulatory framework C-2

4. Airworthiness approval and the issue of a

Certificate of Airworthiness C-3

5. Summary C-4

Attachment D.    Review and Update D-1

Attachment E.    Strategy for Establishing and Promoting the

    ICAO Position for Future ITU World Radiocommunication

    Conferences E-1

1. Introduction E-1

2. Basis for the ICAO Position E-1

3. Development of the ICAO Position E-1

4. Support for the ICAO Position E-2

5. New trends in spectrum management E-3

6. Assembly Resolution A38-6 E-4

Attachment F.    ICAO Position for the International

Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication

Conference 2015 (ITU WRC-15) F-1
1. Introduction F-1

2. ICAO and the international regulatory framework F-2

3. Spectrum requirements for international civil aviation F-2

4. Aeronautical aspects on the agenda for WRC-15 F-4

Appendix to Attachment F.      Agenda for the WRC-15 F-43
Attachment G.    Technical Information and Frequency-sharing Criteria G-1
1. Introduction G-1
Attachment H.    ITU Resolutions and Recommendations H-1
1. Introduction H-1


Chapter 1

1.1    The radio frequency spectrum is a scarce natural resource with finite capacity limits and for which demand is constantly increasing. Predictions of future demand for spectrum indicate a continuing rate of increase for all users and radio services and facilities that utilize radio waves as the world economies progressively expand. The competition among all users for the spectrum available is hence expected to intensify in the years ahead. In this competitive situation, even a user holding a spectrum allocation will not have an automatic right to retain that radio frequency spectrum, as a decision by an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference may require that spectrum be removed from any radio service to meet a superior justified demand for other radio services. Aviation is only one of many such competitors, albeit with the significant benefit of a worldwide cooperative forum, namely the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to coordinate and support its case.

1.2    Aeronautical services are recognized internationally to be prime users of radio frequencies without which aircraft operations would not be capable of meeting the global demand for safe, efficient and cost-effective transport. The prominent safety-of-life element, present during all phases of an aircraft’s flight, is accorded special treatment internationally and is granted protection from harmful interference through agreed measures. Aeronautical spectrum use in the main frequency bands amounts to around 14 per cent of the total available and is divided into two main functions: air-ground communications and radionavigation. The future will also see the gradual introduction of satellite-based services in accordance with the communications, navigation and surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) policies agreed at the Tenth Air Navigation Conference (1991) and approved by the ICAO Council.
1.3    Radio frequency spectrum congestion imposes on all users the duty of spectrum-efficient operation. The process of channel splitting, as employed in some aeronautical communication and navigation frequency bands, is an example of technological development helping to achieve spectrum-efficient operation and meeting future requirements without requiring additional spectrum. Modern sophisticated systems employing complex modulations are another facet of efficient spectrum use when transmitting more information within the same bandwidth. Extending radio services and systems into higher frequency bands is yet another. These measures will continue for the foreseeable future.
1.4    The process of international competition between expanding radio services obliges all existing users (i.e. aeronautical and non-aeronautical) to continually defend and justify the retention of frequency bands or the addition of new bands to those already allocated to their service, subject to the same conditions as apply in other services, civil aviation operations are expanding globally, requiring more navigation and communication facilities and thus creating additional pressures on the already stressed and limited spectrum availability. The civil aviation community must accordingly develop and present, as necessary, its agreed policies and its quantified and qualified statements of requirement for radio frequency spectrum so as to ensure the continuing availability of adequate radio spectrum and, ultimately, the ongoing viability of air navigation services throughout the world.
1.5    This document contains a balanced and justified presentation of aviation needs, and it will be made available to all aviation interests involved in the frequency management process. It will be updated through regular amendments based on technological developments in communication, navigation and surveillance systems for aviation and changing operational requirements on the utilization of these systems. These updates also consider the decisions in the ITU, including amendments to the ITU Radio Regulations and the development of relevant ITU-R Recommendations and Reports.


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