Aage J. Thunem, NATMIG

The European ATM industry has gained substantial momentum due to the financial support from SESAR and the cooperation between Stakeholders

2016 marks the completion of the first phase of SESAR research and innovation (SESAR 1) and the delivery of technological and operational solutions ready for deployment. In this article, Aage J. Thunem, Executive Vice President, SINTEF, shares his thoughts on the achievements of the SESAR JU partnership.

By  Aage J. Thunem, Executive Vice President, SINTEF, on the behalf of NATMIG

The North European ATM Industry Group (NATMIG AS) is a Norwegian legal entity representing four industries collectively members of SESAR 1, and has the following founding members:

  • Sweden: Saab AB
  • Norway: SINTEF ICT
  • Indra Navia AS
  • Ireland: Airtel ATN Ltd

Saab is a global supplier in the ATM domain and Saab has a long history of developing and delivering ATM solutions. Saab has pioneered future concepts such as the Remote Tower. Saab has been participating in the operational remote tower project in SESAR and has lead three technical remote tower projects in SESAR. The prototypes developed in the projects has been installed, verified and validated at a number of locations. Since the program started, a number of validations have been delivered to SESAR. Saab has, among others, also participated in development of tower solutions and traffic flow optimization to and from an airport.

In addition to delivering large multi-airport programs, Saab has a long history of ATM thought leadership, applied research, development and implementation of concepts and programs supporting ATM advancement. Saab has been involved in all aspects of future aviation safety and efficiency advancements - from early concept development to implementation of tools and systems. All this experience and knowledge has been brought into the program.

SINTEF is a broadly based, multidisciplinary research contract based, independent and non-commercial organisation. We have been able to bring top-level expertise from other domains, such as expertise in technology, medicine and the social sciences into the world of aviation.

SINTEF participates to more than 30 SESAR projects within a lot of different domains, such as Information Modelling, Ground, air and satellite Communications, Traffic Synchronisation and optimization, Reduced environmental impact (Noise), Aircraft turbulence – reduced separation, ATM Safety and Security, Human Performance, Risk Modeling, 3D Modeling for remote tower operations and Optimization algorithms for ATM safety Nets.

Indra Navia, as a major ATM ground equipment manufacturer, is an active contributor within the SESAR research programmes, participating both to the development of future tower solutions, as well as for the next generation landing systems, GBAS. As an equipment manufacturer, it has been important for us to develop functioning technical solutions on which we can base our products in the future. Indra Navia has more than half a century experience within this field of competence, and the participants in the SESAR research and development projects have been our best experts. These experts are also among the contributors to international standardisation work, and recognised for their competence and experience in those fora as well.

Airtel is an SME, which has an extensive line of ATN & FANS data link products and technology used in 35 countries worldwide. Its operational systems include ATN/OSI routers deployed on more than 2,500 aircraft. Its ground systems include Air/Ground Data Link Servers deployed in several European Countries and Air/Ground routers used in VDL Mode-2 networks. It also provides data link test and monitoring equipment.

Within SESAR projects, Airtel has participated in the demonstration of CPDLC D-TAXI and definition of SATCOM and AeroMACS technologies, and the distribution of ADS-C data among multiple ground servers.

One of the key elements for succeeding with huge technology shifts within ATM, both for tower and navigation solutions has been the cooperation with other stakeholders within the programme and its objectives to eliminate the fragmented approach to European ATM. Since NATMIG also is focusing on Applied Research is has been very important to work both with the manufacturing industry, ANSPs and Airspace Users to develop concepts and technology which fits the end user the best way

NATMIG’s view is that the European ATM industry has gained substantial momentum due to the financial support from SESAR and the co-operation between stakeholders.

One of the major challenges has been to make all the 300 projects to work in the same direction and to work up front of both systems and standards within the transversal areas like safety, security, interoperability, human factors etc. And at the same time work efficiently to deliver the target of implementing the ATM Master Plan

The development of ground equipment is challenging, when the standardisation work is being carried out in parallel. However, this is also one of the major achievements. By doing this research and development in parallel with e.g. the launch of the Galileo system and with the standardisation work, extremely important input has been provided to the standardisation bodies and to the ATM industry, that also provides momentum to the European industry

Another main achievement is that the programme has been able to work in parallel with the regulatory side and to get all main stakeholders to work together to reach the goals of SESAR

We foresee the SESAR program to be a cornerstone to provide ATM solutions to the European air traffic challenges and to be a success and of benefit to the European society and business.

NATMIG and its members are committed to pursue the development and implementation of the systems prototyped within the SESAR programme. These systems are believed to be the right systems for the future, making flight safer, greener and more economical.