Ireland, Iceland launch full virtual joint comms

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and Iceland’s ISAVIA have established the world’s first cross border virtual communications centre of its kind.

The Rohde & Schwarz fully IP ED137 compliant VCS-4G Voice Communications Control System (VCCS) will allow the air navigation service providers (ANSP) to implement full unlimited virtual joint operations.

The system is located at the Irish Aviation Authority, North Atlantic Communications facility at Ballygirreen and ISAVIA has an identical Voice Switch at its communication facility at Gufunes, Iceland, allowing each provider’s aeronautical communications centre to be fully interconnected.

Both voice communication systems will operate as one virtual centre and will be used to provide aeronautical communications services, using HF, VHF and SATVOICE operations in the Shanwick and the Reykjavik Oceanic Control areas.

Both areas in the North Atlantic represent one of the world’s most demanding operational ATC scenarios.

Shanwick Radio provides a voice communication service in eastern half of the North Atlantic which covers an area of around 2 million sq km and handles at peak times handles 1,500 aircraft per day, with expected movements in excess of 500,000 for 2017. Iceland Radio, provides a voice communications service in the Reykjavik Oceanic Control Area which is among the largest in the world with approximately 5.4 million sq km, handling each year approximately 150,000 aircraft.

The concept of a virtual centre allows both centres to be operated either independently from each other in standalone mode or, when connected with each other, in joint-operation mode, which will give operational staff access to all resources and functionality of either Voice Communications Switch.

Ásgeir Pálsson, director of air navigation services, Isavia said This is a significant step in a long standing process towards increased cooperation between the IAA and Isavia that has as its focus to bring safe, reliable and cost efficient services to our customers. Moreover, it demonstrates that large scale cross border service provision is achievable and practical. The increased robustness that this cooperation provides should serve as an example of how ANSPs can accomplish benefits for the aviation community by cooperating effectively.”

Peter Kearney, director ATM operation & strategy said: The IAA continuously introduces innovative ATM solutions which provides enhanced services to our customers and increases safety in our business, the virtual centre concept will ensure business continuity by reassigning resources and supporting infrastructure in the event of a catastrophic facility failure either at Ballygirreen, Ireland or Gufunes, Iceland. This Communications Switch will also provide the necessary infrastructure to grow our business.”

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

Beside the operational Voice Communications Switch, Rohde & Schwarz has provided the IAA with a test and validation system offering versatile environments to test, configure and validate configurations for the single and joint operation scenarios.



Posted in CAAs/ANSPs, Communications, Innovation, News

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