MUAC’s shared ATS system now operational at Royal Netherlands Air Force sites

Posted: 2 October 2013 | EUROCONTROL | No comments yet

The primary benefit of a shared traffic view is increased safety…


The air traffic control system of the Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) is now fully operational at the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) Air Operations Control Centre at Nieuw Milligen, and at seven air bases.

The Shared ATS System (SAS) project is a pioneering project of shared ATM data services provided by one air navigation service provider for the benefit of another in the core area of Europe. It paves the way for further harmonisation in air traffic management and helps alleviate the de-fragmentation of the European network, as required by the Single European Sky.

“Seven Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) air bases and all RNLAF sectors – en-route, approach and tower – now use the SAS System, also used by MUAC for civil air traffic in the upper airspace of the Benelux States and the north-west of Germany and by the DFS unit located at MUAC for military traffic in the north-west of Germany”, says Director MUAC, Jac Jansen. All operational units are now operating with the same flight data processing system and use the same controller working positions.

“For the first time, military controllers in one location can use the data (e.g. correlated aircraft tracks and flight plans) generated by a system at another location to control some of the densest and most complex airspace in the world”, says Colonel Henk Ras from the RNLAF. This entails processing information for approach and tower control alongside upper airspace operations.

The primary benefit of a shared traffic view is increased safety, due to a closer understanding between military and civil controllers.

Economies of scale are also secured on account of common development and maintenance resources. As MUAC facilities are upgraded and/or developed to SESAR standards, the improvements will automatically flow to the RNLAF virtual military centre served from MUAC.

Furthermore, where in the past verbal coordination procedures were used for synchronisation purposes, this process has now been automated, bringing with it a significant reduction in workload for both supervisors and controllers at both sites. Using a common system provides important efficiency gains as civil controllers are aware of the status of the military areas and the intentions of the military aircraft operating in these areas, enabling more effective capacity management.

Since it first developed the MUAC flight data processing system back in 2008, Indra Sistemas S.A has contributed intensively to the adaptation of the MUAC flight data processing system to support the new civil/military requirements, in particular for the handling of flight planning in the lower airspace involving en-route, approach and tower control.

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