In a significant competitive win, ARINC Incorporated has been awarded the contract to provide Eurocontrol with a test system to validate the functioning of VDL Mode 2 (VDL2) avionics in a multi-frequency environment.
ARINC's validation system will be installed in a new laboratory at the Eurocontrol Experimental Centre (EEC) in Bretigny, France, the same location where ARINC installed a VDL2 testbed in 2004 for Eurocontrol under the Link2000 Program.
Avionics Test System
Validation of avionics will be a critical step for the European air transport community, who face a DataLink Services Implementing Rule to implement Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), based on VDL Mode 2 avionics, for Air Traffic Control communications.
"This is an important new agreement for both ARINC and Eurocontrol," stated Andy Hubbard, ARINC EMEA Managing Director. "It extends a successful 10-year strategic partnership that underpinned the rollout of VDL Mode 2 in the Maastricht FIR under the Link2000 Program. And it retains the 10-year knowledge base acquired by both parties to accelerate the progress of CPDLC moving forward."
Europe's busy Maastricht Upper Air Center and many CPDLC "pioneer" airlines have been using VDL Mode 2 communications since 2004 under the EC Link2000 Program. But with anticipated growth of air traffic going forward, multiple VDL2 frequencies will soon be needed to support the required capacity. All VDL2 systems will need to operate reliably in a multi-frequency environment by changing channels as required to maximize performance and avoid frequency congestion. An avionics test system of this functionality has not been done before.
Under EC Regulation #29/2009, the "core" air navigation service providers in Europe must be operating CPDLC in upper airspace by February 2013. All new aircraft delivered from February 2011 must have a CPDLC system on board, and a significant number of older aircraft must be retrofitted by February 2015.
ARINC initially provided an avionics test system at the Bretigny EEC facility to test avionics behavior in a single-frequency VDL Mode 2 laboratory environment. With the new ARINC system, Eurocontrol is now preparing to carry out laboratory tests of avionics in a multi-frequency environment. Installation work will be completed by December 15, 2011 and the facility should go live shortly thereafter.
Multi frequency capability for VDL Mode 2 is a significant development for the industry, as it will help ensure sufficient network capacity and resilience in the future. ARINC's VDL Mode 2 service, GLOBALink/VDLM2, is available in most busy airspaces worldwide.