Through SESAR, civil and military aviation stakeholders are working together on solutions to enable military air traffic operations in Europe’s increasing complex and congested airspace. Tests earlier this year in Bretigny simulated operations of military aircraft in controlled airspace of Prague showed how a central management of military flight plans and real-time exchange trajectory information can improve the predictability of military operations and airspace use; and increase capacity of the overall network.

Europe’s armed forces operate more than 150,000 flights per year. To accommodate these flights, the airspace is often closed, sometimes at short notice, to civil traffic. Given the growth of air traffic, SESAR is looking at technical systems and solutions that allow more flexible civil-military cooperation to maximise the use of airspace. Key to this cooperation is the ability of military planners to access flight plan and trajectory data provided by civil air traffic management systems, as well as the ability to feed these same systems with their own defined set of information. 

Within this context, SESAR members EUROCONTROL, the air navigation service provider from the Czech Republic (ANS CR as part of the B4 Consortium) and Airbus tested a number of solutions/concepts. Specifically the members validated the creation and submission of military flight plans (iOAT FPL), the central management of these plans by the Network Manager, and their distribution to local air traffic control centres where these military flights are taking place.

The validation results are a major step towards enhanced civil – military coordination and are expected to contribute to a more complete view of the pan-European air traffic situation, civil as well as military, at ATM network level. The exercise will promote a better integration of processes from the military wing operations centre (WOC), local ATC and the Network, based on a shared military flight plan and trajectory information.

Underpinning this validation work is the ongoing collaboration between the SESAR JU and the European Defence Agency, which ensures the full integration of military needs into the SESAR research and innovation programme.

A video film of this validation exercise was produced by ANS CR

This validation exercise is part of Project PJ07 – Optimised Airspace Users Operations and is a joint activity of both solutions PJ07.03 and PJ18.01a from SESAR 2020.