Industry gets the floor: Developing future Air Traffic Flow and Capacity Management Systems (ATFCM)

One of the key SESAR projects in the area  of Air Traffic Flow and Capacity Management Systems (ATFCM) is Project 13.1.4, managed by Dominique Latgé, from Thales. He explained how the project will enable industry to contribute to future ATFCM systems through SESAR.

"The regional Network Manager role and the sub-regional Network Manager role are the answer to the evolution of the Single European Sky implementing rules on network functions. Business & Mission Trajectory refinement and resource allocation will be shared by all stakeholders at local (Airport, AOC, military units, APP/ACC), sub-regional(FAB) and regional levels."

SESAR project 13.1.4 deals with the impact of new roles and responsibilities on regional,  sub-regional  and local ATFCM sub-systems. The project, which recently started execution, is led by Thales, with participation from Indra, NATS and Eurocontrol.

Following the evolution of the Single European Sky (SES) implementing rules, the operational concepts definition in SESAR WP 7 (Network Operations) and the high level system design in WP 13 (Network Information Management System), project 13.1.4 gives the floor to industry to define a system functions mapping for each system and sub-system inside  the network, for each  level and each step of SESAR.

The project addresses the evolution of the Network Information Management System (NIMS) from a centralised regional system to a more collaborative and distributed system based on the Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs). One of its objectives is to help the transformation of the current regional CFMU system into marketable technical solutions for the sub-regional and local levels.

Project 13.1.4 also aims to define the collaborative decision making  processes needed by this new organisation of the network. Driven by the new roles and responsibilities at the different levels (regional, sub-regional and local), the project ensures that each actor will find the right information at the right time to take the right decision.

Industry gets the floor
Projects in WP 13, project 13.1.4 is led by industry. Industry contributors will use the knowledge and experience they have developed in other parts of the world and with ANSPs at a local level in Europe.

Thales will use experience from work with South Africas air traffic& navigation system, where they helped to specify, develop and validate of a sub-regional system for air traffic flow management: CAMU (South Africa Central Airspace Management Unit). Indra, one of the other project  partners, will use knowledge gained  from work with Aena on local short term prediction tools and airspace management tools.
The project raises many questions, such as how can we integrate network operations in a local area control  centre on a flow management  position? What products are needed inside Europe and at FAB level? What do we need to take into account for areas outside  Europe?
The position of manufacturing industry in SESAR projects, in particular in system projects related to air traffic control (WP 10), airports (WP12) and SWIM (WP14), makes it a strong technical enabler for information sharing, and is another key element to building a coherent industry view for the whole ATM system.

The FAB initiative, Nextgen and other world regions
Thales is linked to NUAC and FABEC, Eurocontrol to FABEC and Blue Med, NATS to the FABUK-Ireland, and Indra to the SW Portugal-Spain FAB. Project 13.1.4 partners therefore have a key role in managing these links, so that the project responds to operational needs expressed by the FABs and develops future architecture solutions based on current FABs improvements. This will ensure a buy-in at each level, and a rapid deployment of SESAR solutions inside Europe.
The ATM industry partners in project 13.1.4 can also help to bridge the gap between SESAR and Nextgen solutions, thereby ensuring interoperability. Thales, for example, is planning to include Metron Aviation as a participant in its own contribution, with the aim of better responding to the expectations of the ATM community.
In addition, the product definition strategy based  on Nextgen and other world regions will be integrated into project 13.1.4s solutions, within the limits of SESARs intellectual property rights.

Next steps
The project deliverable is an architecture solution built on exchanges between industry partners and an evaluation led by Eurocontrol and NATS. This architecture definition will be implemented in the level three projects in sub-WP 13.2, and will be validated  through operational validation exercises defined and managed by WP 7. The goal is to produce a first release of this architecture document by the end of 2011. 


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