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World’s first and largest multinational airspace management programme utilising VoIP communication goes live

Initial FABEC-NVCS enters live operations at Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC)

c - Eurocontrol

Frequentis has placed the industry’s largest fully end-to-end IP VCS into operation for MUAC, fulfilling demanding safety criteria and supporting the network capability requirements of the Functional Airspace Block Europe Central (FABEC) project.

As part of the FABEC N-VCS contract, and in close co-operation with its project partners, France’s DSNA (Direction des Services La Navigation Aérienne) and EUROCONTROL (MUAC), two of Europe’s leading ANSPs, Frequentis has deployed its VCS3020X; the leading end-to-end IP communication solution for Air Traffic Management globally. The only IP VCS with truly parallel operation using fully separated IP networks provides unrivalled scalability and reliability. Its wide range of workload-sharing and IP networking capabilities makes it a critical element for any successful implementation of dynamic sectorisation, in compliance with SESAR.

“The successful regulatory safety certification of the N-VCS system sets an example for similar future projects. MUAC and its FABEC partners have always strived to increase their performance through innovation, and to anticipate future needs, particularly now we are seeing unprecedented air traffic growth and increasing airspace complexity. Furthermore, in today’s world of increasingly frequent cyberattacks, it is essential for us to work with the latest and safest systems available”, said John Santurbano, the Director of MUAC.

The first N-VCS system is now fully operational for MUAC, with 70 controller working positions and over 300 radio channels, it is the largest in a series of six ACC systems to be rolled-out in the busiest airspace in Europe in the coming years. The VCS3020X will allow MUAC and DSNA to provide a more dynamic airspace management and has the potential to further improve safety, as well as achieving greater synergies. Immediate benefits for the MUAC air traffic controllers include the support of seamless re-sectorisation, replacing the verbal handover of roles and frequencies with a fully-automated procedure coordinated directly via the SRAT role allocation tool. This centralised MUAC configuration tool guarantees uniformity across all systems at the operator position. Furthermore, through automated multi-channel radio back-up functions, the N-VCS provides increased reliability, safety and performance.

“In France, the N-VCS will replace, in the near future, the main and back-up VCS currently in use in the five French area control centres (ACCs). The backup N-VCS will also soon replace the current radio back-up operating at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. N-VCS deployment projects - first in Charles De Gaulle and Brest ACC - are underway. The Bordeaux ACC project has been launched in 2017”, added Maurice Georges, DSNA’s CEO.

Some technical highlights of the FABEC N-VCS include full ED-137B compliance, less than 10 milliseconds end-to-end critical service failover, even over the WAN, RX/TX dynamic delay compensation for best voice quality, management subsystems deployed on virtualised environments, to support resource-sharing via efficient and safe sector delegation.

“The FABEC N-VCS programme will provide a more dynamic airspace management, allowing for safety, efficiency and cost improvements. Interoperability between airspace blocks is the next step in enhancing ATM communication infrastructures and Frequentis are proud that our expertise in voice communication systems led to us being part of this innovative and demanding project, setting new standards for the global ATM industry.” Hannu Juurakko, Vice President Air Traffic Management Civil at Frequentis,

The project is now focusing on the rollout of the next ACC systems for DSNA, with the Brest and Bordeaux centres being next in line.

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