Rohde & Schwarz provides voice communications control systems and radios for virtual ATC center in Iceland and Ireland

- Munich, Germany

The air navigation service providers of Iceland, the Iceland (ISAVIA) and Ireland, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), have selected Rohde & Schwarz as sole supplier of their new air traffic services voice communications control system and HF radios. ISAVIA and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) plan to set up a virtual control center to connect their Gufunes and Ballygirreen locations.

Rohde & Schwarz will deliver two fully IP ED137 compliant R&S VCS-4G voice communications control systems (VCCS) as well as HF receivers from the R&S M3SR Series4100 radio family. The systems will be used to provide communications services, including HF, VHF and SATPHONE, in the Reykjavik and Shanwick oceanic control areas (OCA). Both areas in the North Atlantic represent one of the world’s most demanding operational ATC scenarios in terms of safety and efficiency. Shanwick OCA, with an area of approximately 3.8 million square kilometers, handles in excess of 400,000 aircraft on an annual basis. Reykjavik OCA is among the largest in the world, with approximately 5.4 million square kilometers, and handles some 100,000 airplanes per year.

The R&S VCS-4G systems will be set up as two independent systems. One will be located in ISAVIA’s COM center in Gufunes, Iceland, and one in IAA’s COM center in Ballygirreen, Ireland. The direct link between the two voice communications systems allows advanced scenarios such as resource sharing for air-ground and ground-ground sources and a virtual center setup.

The concept of a virtual center makes it possible to operate the VCCSs either independently in standalone mode or, when connected with each other, in joint-operation mode. As a result operators have access to all resources and functionality of both VCCSs. In the event of a catastrophe, such an advanced virtual center concept will ensure business continuity by reassigning resources within a supporting infrastructure to mitigate the situation. In a failure situation, the second center will be able to access unaffected assets (e.g. remote air-ground resources) and take over communications operations of the disabled ATC center.

In addition to the two operational VCCSs, Rohde & Schwarz will provide both IAA and ISAVIA with additional test and validation systems that offer versatile environments for testing, configuring and validating configurations for standalone and joint operation scenarios. The test and validation systems will be similar to the main VCCS in terms of architecture and operational capabilities.

Existing investments in the air-ground and ground-ground infrastructure will be protected by using gateways to interconnect the fully IP-based R&S VCS-4G infrastructure with existing radio stations and telecom lines with analog or E1 interfaces. Neighboring area control centers will be interconnected by ATS-QSIG. With the fully IP EUROCAE ED-137 compliant infrastructure, interconnection to air-ground or ground-ground resources using VoIP interfaces can take place at any time without the need for additional hardware or software.

Voice over IP (VoIP) in line with EUROCAE ED-137 is the upcoming communications technology for ATC, replacing the obsolete TDM-based systems. The fully IP-based R&S VCS-4G voice communications system complies with this standard.

Rohde & Schwarz added the R&S VCS-4G state-of-the-art solution to its ATC portfolio in the spring of 2011. The R&S VCS-4G features a fully redundant design with a large number of interfaces to external systems, such as a voice recording system and telephone lines. Due to its unique architecture, the system is scalable and can be easily expanded without replacing existing equipment. R&S VCS-4G already features next generation ATC requirements such as asset sharing, facility consolidation, geographical distribution and virtual center, supporting the efficiency and safety objectives of global aviation.

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