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Long-term Evolution of Air/Ground Synchronisation

The automatic sharing of data between the airborne systems and the ATM ground systems in the Industrial Research programme is limited to what is possible with the ATN B2 standard; it includes the downlink of the Extended Projected Profile (EPP) and the interrogation/reply related to the ETA min/max window over a waypoint, as well as the data that are downlinked via SSR Mode-S. The evolution from ATN B2 and current Mode-S will further extend the scope of automatic air/ground data exchange. This could include, for example:

  • Automatic update of the FMS trajectory with the ATC ground plan when a clearance is not yet possible, allowing the airborne systems to better optimise against that plan (e.g. more efficient descent profiles thanks to the information on the ground expected clearance).
  • Automatic uplink and update of the AMAN planned times, so that the flight crew can be aware at all times of what the arrival time that ATC has planned for them, and optimise the flight accordingly.
  • Automatic uplink and update of the relevant arrival and departure sequence, to increase the situational awareness of the flight crew (so that they know who their flights preceding and succeeding them on the sequence are) and facilitate ADS-B-in applications (no need for the controller to give aircraft-to-follow callsign).
  • Automatic “instantaneous” (e.g. via Mode-S or ADS-B) downlink of the flight-mode (managed-manual/selected), to improve the interpretation by the ground-system of the EPP information, e.g. for the ground to be able to predict the next level-off.
  • Evolution of the EPP standard, e.g. to include the vertical constraints that have been entered in the FMS, selected approach procedure, planned stabilisation speed (in support of compression management on final approach).

The main output of this project must be a high-level “Automatic air-ground trajectory synchronization CONOPS”, which must be included together with its supporting documentation in a deliverable marked as open for public dissemination. The “Automatic air-ground trajectory synchronization CONOPS” will be used as an input to the SESAR concept of operations, and also as an input for the future industrial research projects working in these areas.

The exchange of information that is not directly related to the ATC plan for the flight or to the trajectory itself is out of scope, e.g. downlink of aircraft as a sensor information is out of scope.

The project team must include both technical and operational expertise. Bids must demonstrate basic awareness of the future A/G communication infrastructure (which is supported by LDACS, Satcom and AeroMACS operating under a multilink approach) and which will support the future A/G voice and Data Link communications.

There is a dependency between this CONOPS and the controller-pilot communications CONOPS, which will be developed by a project in this call awarded under topic 23 Proposals addressing this topic should plan effort to coordinate with projects potentially awarded under topic 23. The project must also plan effort to bring the output of their research to ICAO as part of the dissemination of their work.

Automatic air-ground trajectory synchronization is a cornerstone of the SESAR vision. This topic explores the evolution of the operational concept of air-ground synchronisation concept beyond what can be achieved with ATN B2.

Improved automatic air-ground synchronization will increase the predictability of flight operations on the ground, enable the optimisation of flight profiles in order to reduce fuel consumption and contribute to a more efficient organisation of the entire mobility system.