SESAR-WiComS – ATM Wireless Communication Study: Requirement, Service and Technology Assessments

EASA and Eurocontrol’s Single European Sky (SES) initiative, in conjunction with the FAA’s NextGen activities, is conducting a long-term air traffic management (ATM) transformation programme, which aims at automating large parts of ATM and achieving a level of predictability that currently does not exist. Major programme goals include reduction, if not elimination, of flight delays and the abolition of rigid ATM procedures, such as the airway system. Quantum leaps in aircraft operations efficiency, fuel conservation and noise reduction are expected.

The instrument through which the EU and Eurocontrol will develop and demonstrate the technology on which SES will be based is SESAR, or Single European Sky ATM Research, a joint undertaking by EUROCONTROL and the European Commission, together with major stakeholders from ATM operations and industry. The main objective of the SESAR Joint Undertaking is to develop a modernised ATM system for Europe, and to that end the future communication infrastructure is key.

In order to develop the new ATM communication system, a thorough assessment of all the available – and future – technologies is needed, along with potential suppliers. TriaGnoSys has been charged by SESAR to carry out the assessment: the Wireless Communication Study (WiComS).

The overarching objective of WiComS is to investigate the technologies required for ATM communications infrastructures for the next 20 years, with air traffic in Europe expected to double by 2025, according to the latest EUROCONTROL forecast.

The WiComS project is split into four parts:

  1. To refine the future need for communications services for all phases of the flight in support of the future SESAR Concept of Operations (ConOps);
  2. To verify that the technologies currently identified to support the multi-link concept – namely direct air-to-ground and air-to-air connections, satellite-based connectivity, and the ground-based airport segment – are the correct ones;
  3. To identify any other technologies that could be appropriate;
  4. To investigate potential suppliers, both from the aviation sector and outside.

click to enlarge

Network  performance over all flight phases for  gate-to-gate operations
(Source: SESAR D3 - ConOps)

The work on WiComS started in January 2010 and will be concluded in September, with the first element being delivered in April.

WiComS consortium

The WiComS consortium is headed by TriaGnoSys. The other members are:
Audens ACT GmbH (Wessling, Germany)
Rainer J Koll Consulting Ltd. (London, UK)
ATMOSPHERE (Toulouse, France)

The Wireless Communication Study (WiComS) consortium was selected by the SESAR Joint Undertaking for its expertise in ATM operations, aeronautical regulation and spectrum management, competence in simulation and test-bed performance assessment for future ATM systems, and aeronautical telecommunications systems, as well as its experience in the management and delivery of EC and ESA projects.

SESAR Joint Undertaking Contract No. SJU/LC/0069-CTR