2012 A landmark year for SESAR

2012 was an important year for SESAR, significant milestones were reached and Thales, as the single largest industrial partner to the project, was at the heart of them all

- Madrid, Spain

The SESAR project is paving the way for a sustainable future for the saturated skies of the old continent. The project’s success of making air travel in Europe more efficient and streamlined must be assured, in order to reduce carbon emissions and congestion.

Today Thales stands as the single most important private enterprise contributing to this essential project. With 40% of the ground industrial share of investment and 250 experts dedicated to SESAR, Thales’s contribution is close to double that of the second industrial provider in the project. And in its role as the only provider covering all segments of the project, ground, air and space, Thales has clearly staked its might and global credibility on the success of SESAR, and the project will succeed largely due to the group’s efforts.

The year kicked off in a blaze of glory with the successful I4D flight test between Toulouse and Stockholm, in February. The test, aimed at coordinating data exchanges between different control centres and the test plane all of which utilised Thales equipment, accurately predicted the planes trajectory, vector and arrival time within a margin of error of mere seconds. The test was followed by stringent simulator tests1 making full-use of the Thales TopSky-ATC and TopSky-Simulation Industry Based Platform (IBP). This success paves the way for the implementation of processes which can bring a marked improvement to the arrival sequence at airports and limit delays and fuel consumption, especially in dense traffic conditions.

On the ground, the French provider of air navigation services, DSNA, using the Thales TopSky-Tower IBP successfully conducted several Real-Time Simulations at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, of new departure sequencing, digital-taxi and routing functions2. Airport navigation is listed as one of the most problematic issues for pilots, planes burn as much as 8 kilos of fuel per minute when navigating an airport and pilots, who in the air have access to very sophisticated pieces of navigation equipment often find themselves using paper maps of airports once on the ground. Thales is amongst the first to have performed trials in a real environment aimed at developing a proven solution.

The DSNA and Thales have also been involved in trials using the System Wide Information Management (SWIM)3 and the European ATM network infrastructure (Pan-European Network Services or PENS). SWIM elements allow for faster and easier integration between various ATM systems. This represents a first step towards Flight Object sharing between ANSPs and paves the way towards Interoperability (IOP) in Europe. The next milestone is scheduled in June 2013 with a tri-party validation exercise to demonstrate operational benefits for all takeholders.

"Europe is home. Our roots are here and we learned what it means to be a leader in air traffic management in these skies.” explained Luc Mestrallet, Thales Sales Director for Europe. “Every day 80,000 planes cross our sky, a figure that is almost double that of 1990. This is clearly unsustainable and as the undisputed leader in European ATM, Thales sees it as an obligation to put its resources, know-how and ingenuity to help secure the future of the sky that taught us how to lead in this field.”

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