Eurocontrol MUAC, INDRA puts ADS-C app through first paces

Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) and Indra have together performed the world’s first test-run of the ATN ADS-C application developed by the Spanish technology business to automatically monitor aircraft routes with the aim of increasing safety by anticipating possible discrepancies in air/ground routes.

The test took place on February 14 with an Airbus aircraft that took off from Toulouse and was equipped with a new ATN B2 datalink technology.

As it transited airspace managed by MUAC, the aircraft and ground system connected via datalink to employ the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C) and Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) applications. Using a ‘contract’, the onboard computer and ground systems exchanged the aircraft’s route periodically, on request of the controller and whenever it was rerouted.

The system reduces the amount of voice communication needed between the pilot and controller, thus lessening the workload, reducing the likelihood of errors, increasing the precision of the data exchange and improving the air traffic handling capacity. This system leads to increased efficiency in air/ground route synchronization, thanks to the early detection of discrepancies between both routes.

After successfully testing the system, Eurocontrol’s MUAC and Indra are finishing up the necessary work to complete its deployment and final commissioning in a pre-operational set-up in May.

MUAC will then become the world’s first control centre to start using this technology pre-operationally to reinforce air traffic safety.