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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Feasibility study for an air traffic management research network


To examine the feasibility of a communications network to support ATM research, two main areas of interest have been investigated: administrative (non real-time) applications and distributed simulations. For both these areas, prototype applications have been built to provide a basis for initial evaluations. In parallel, more theoretical work has gone into aspects including possible other applications, network requirements for distributed simulations, and a network overview of current and future networks and network technologies.

The distributed simulations in support of the feasibility assessment have been carried out by NLR, DLR and the Eurocontrol Experimental Centre (EEC). Using the Internet, four simulators have been coupled, simulating air traffic and ATC in the combined Dutch and western German airspace. Air traffic simulated by the different establishments was combined and shown at NLR (using the NLR ATC Research Simulator (NARSIM)) and DLR (using the ATM and Operations Simulator (ATMOS)) and presented to air traffic controllers.

As a prototype administrative application, the world-wide-web (WWW) has been used to provide ATM researchers with a wide variety of ATM-related information. This prototype application ( has made it possible for ATM researchers to get acquainted on a professional level with this new development in communications network. It is also hoped that new additions to this 'live' document will be made beyond the timescale of the ANNETTE project.
The ANNETTE project has shown the feasibility of a communications network that serves the air traffic management (ATM) research community in Europe - a community consisting of research establishments, universities, civil aviation authorities and industry.

The availability of such a network will greatly enhance the effectiveness of all the European ATM research activities by promoting easier communications, common access to data and opening up new forms of cooperative research.

Two of the most promising new applications for this network are the running of distributed ATC simulations and the widespread dissemination of research results.

Exploitation potential and plans

Results of the ANNETTE project are already being exploited through dissemination to European aerospace research establishments of information on experience gained with distributed simulations, large amounts of relevant information charted on the WWW, and the ANNETTE final report (which is also available on-line to the ATM research community).

In cooperative projects within the European aerospace community there is significant interest in ATM research networks in general. More especially, further utilisation of ANNETTE project results is expected within future activities under the Programme for Harmonised ATM Research in Eurocontrol (PHARE) and related Eurocontrol projects.


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