ESCAPE in a demonstration of the world’s first Virtual Centre

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Virtual Centres are a means to reduce fragmentation among the ATC systems in Europe and will make operations between ATS units much more flexible. They will allow multiple ATSUs to appear as a single system to airspace users. These improvements will make for better overall cost efficiency and help the entire ATM network.

Taking shape

A complex and challenging multi-site demonstration was organised in February 2016 by the SESAR B4.4 project partners: EUROCONTROL (Brétigny), NATS (Southampton), Skyguide in cooperation with SkySoft-ATM (Geneva) and Frequentis (Vienna).

During this demonstration, ATC data were exchanged between two ATS data service systems/providers and controller working positions (CWP) from different suppliers through a (Frequentis) broker based on SWIM supported concepts and technologies.

For example, a Frequentis CWP – located in Brétigny – displayed radar tracks received from the NATS Surveillance service in Southampton before switching online to the EUROCONTROL Surveillance service. At the same time, the EUROCONTROL CWP was configured to display radar tracks provided by both the EUROCONTROL and NATS surveillance services.

ESCAPE as a SWIM node

EUROCONTROL’s ESCAPE real time simulator was adapted to implement the SESAR B4.4 logical service and data model. Thanks to its flexible architecture, it was a straightforward exercise to decouple the Controller Working Position (CWP) sub-system from the rest of the system, so allowing the roles of ATSU and ADSP to be supported in the operational scenario.

Virtual Centre demonstration – Exchange of ATS data between 4 different sites

At a glance

CWP involved

ATS data service providers

M. Poiger

M. Poiger


“The demonstration, which was organised by the project partners EUROCONTROL, NATS, skyguide in cooperation with SkySoft-ATM and Frequentis, presented a number of open standard service interfaces in various multi-vendor scenarios. The demonstration showed the feasibility of the SESAR Virtual Centre concept, meaning the decoupling of the ATM data service providers (ADSPs) from the air traffic service units (ATSUs) through open and standardised service interfaces. The services provided by ADSPs cover all the data needed by ATSUs (including ATM and voice data) for en-route, approach and tower domains, depending on the ATSUs. In addition, the demonstration showed how collaboration is possible on a single platform using services based on system-wide information management (SWIM) applications.”

Do you need to demonstrate interoperability between ATC systems? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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