NATS takes further step to SESAR deployment

NATS has completed the design of a major component of the next generation of air traffic control system, with the help of funding from the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
A new Human Machine Interface (or HMI) has been designed for controllers to help implement new airspace management concepts such as Free Route Airspace and Trajectory Management, which are crucial to delivering the additional capacity required by the Single European Sky initiative.
The HMI, whose design has been co-funded by the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), will be used to display information produced through the iTEC Flight Data Processing System, which is being rolled out across the entire UK operation in the coming years. The HMI is the means by which controllers interact with vital data, such as the location and future intention of aircraft.
Paul Haskins, NATS director of service, strategy and transformation, said: “The new HMI is one of a number of projects being co-funded by INEA which will help revolutionise air traffic management in the UK. This particular project is an integral part of NATS’ planning for the future. Its main objective is to deliver key elements of the HMI design work for air traffic controllers and operational support staff for the new systems. This will ensure commonality and interoperability between UK civil and military en route air traffic controllers and enable us to deliver SESAR in UK airspace.”
NATS is a leading participant in the Single European Sky ATM Research programme (SESAR) and has already deployed a number of SESAR concepts in to operation with the help of INEA co-funding, including the Time-Based Separation system for arriving aircraft at Heathrow Airport and Point Merge, a new airspace design concept that uses improved aircraft navigational capabilities to improve overall airspace efficiency.