Thales technologies enable air-ground datalink capability for first SESAR I-4D flight

For the successful first I-4D flight performed as part of the SESAR programme on 10 February, Thales technologies supported a full sequence of data exchanges between Stockholm and Copenhagen with an aircraft flying an avionics suite modified by Thales in partnership with General Electric and the I-4D-ready control centre in Malmö, also installed by Thales. The only company in the world with leadership positions in both onboard equipment (cockpit and cabin solutions) and ground equipment (radar, air traffic management systems, etc.), Thales is proud to have contributed to this success.
This first key step served as a full-scale trial for transmission of trajectory data between the aircraft and control centre, as well as for Controlled Time Over (CTO) technologies and procedures used to manage air traffic flows in terminal airspace during the approach phase.

During the test flight, the aircrafts flight management system (FMS), the air traffic management (ATM) system and the arrival flights sequencing system were able to communicate via datalink and then agree on a specific CTO point in the optimised descent phase. Flying on autopilot, the aircraft arrived at this point within one second of the CTO, demonstrating the accuracy of the predicted flight trajectory.

In another major first, the I-4D control centre developed by Thales received via datalink the trajectory information calculated by the aircrafts flight management system (FMS, codeveloped by Thales and GE) was able to resynchronise it independently of ground systems.

Jean-Loïc Galle, Thales Senior Vice-President, Air Operations, congratulated Thales teams for their hard work preparing for this trial and integrating systems, and all the partners involved in I-4D for their excellent cooperation.

Thales has played an active role in supporting the development of the initial 4D concept (I-4D) since the start of the Single European Sky ATM Research programme (SESAR). The next steps will involve real-time simulations to validate the concept in different technical and operational configurations, notably with a mixed fleet of aircraft not all equipped with I-4D avionics.
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