E-Aircraft connectivity expert SITAONAIR today announced an innovative trial with the Chilean and Brazilian air navigation service providers (ANSPs), DGAC and DECEA, on behalf of the 14 countries in the ICAO South America group of ANSPs. Running for the past six months the project has tested the viability of using the pan-American REDDIG network to securely and cost-effectively deliver SITAONAIR ATS AIRCOM datalink messages between the multiple ANSPs and aircraft using their datalink services.
ANSPs across the world are recognizing the benefits of operating their own multi-country communications networks. In South America, this has been achieved with the establishment of REDDIG – a regional telecom ground network which has been recently upgraded to provide IP service via a mixture of VSAT and ground network links. REDDIG is used for the exchange of aeronautical data each ANSP shares with its neighboring ANSPs.
In parallel, the use of datalink communications between pilots and air traffic controllers is rising across the continent and the consortium of ANSPs in South America, working with SITAONAIR, has been keen to investigate the possibility of moving these datalink communications from private telecom providers to the highly-secure and cost-effective REDDIG network.
The group of South America ANSPs agreed that SITAONAIR would run a trial with DGAC Chile and DECEA Brazil. The aim is to verify all security and performance requirements for both the SITAONAIR AIRCOM datalink and REDDIG networks. Since last October, DGAC Chile has connected its FANS server to the SITAONAIR data link processor using both the local REDDIG node in parallel to its existing IP connection. During this time the reliability and security of the connections across the REDDIG network through a node operated by DECEA in Recife, Brazil have been put under intense scrutiny.
DGAC, Chile, said: “REDDIG belongs to all ANSPs in South America and was designed to support regional requirements for air traffic services. This trial that SITAONAIR is running with DGAC and DECEA is important to investigate and demonstrate not only the technical and operational feasibility of using REDDIG for air-ground data link services but to also highlight opportunity to provide real cost-savings to all the South American ANSPs.”
To date, the trial has confirmed that transition from the current communication links provided by SITAONAIR to the REDDIG IP links by the ANSPs will not require changes to their system interfaces. SITAONAIR, REDDIG and DGAC continue to perform additional security and performance analysis and the full results of the trial are being presented by SITAONAIR to the REDDIG Coordination Committee this week. During the meeting important aspects such as performance for ATS data link services, impact on ground network traffic, potential cost savings and network operation agreements will be discussed in detail by the South American ANSPs and SITAONAIR.
“We identified the opportunity to offer a higher level of security and reliability by moving the REDDIG user’s ANSP access to the SITAONAIR datalink processor in Rio de Janeiro. This is operated by SITAONAIR under a concession agreement with DECEA as part of the Brazilian national network of VHF data link stations” said François Bardin, Director Air Traffic Systems at SITAONAIR. “The cooperation between REDDIG, DGAC Chile, DECEA Brazil and SITAONAIR for this trial has created an unprecedented and highly successful example of how the industry and ANSPs can support each other in South America. We are using existing infrastructure that, once integrated, can enhance the safety and the performance of air navigation services in the region, with the added benefit of potential cost savings.”
Currently SITAONAIR provides data link services to several ANSPs in South America countries including; Brazil (DECEA), Uruguay (DINACIA), Chile (DGAC), French Guyana (DSNA), Argentina (DGCTA) and also in the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua (COCESNA). These ANSPs currently access the SITAONAIR ACARS processor using a SITA-provided generic IP service which, based on evidence from this trial, can be moved to the REDDIG IP links without changes to the ANSP system interfaces.