The three companies have already completed a successful joint specification phase for iTEC. This next phase of the collaboration aims to replace the flight data processing systems that currently exist in Spain, Germany and the UK with a common, future-oriented shared system.
The iTEC system uses leading edge technology, designed to meet the future capacity needs of the three countries which operate some of the busiest and most complex airspace in the world. It will support both civil and military air traffic control operations, and sets the scene for harmonised and interoperable ATC operations in line with European objectives to achieve a Single European Sky (SES).
The agreement was signed by Francisco Quereda, Chief Executive of AENA; Dieter Kaden, Chief Executive of DFS; and Lawrence Hoskins, Managing Director of NATS. Contracts are in place with systems supplier Indra Sistemas, with more to follow.
"We are committed to using common system components wherever it makes operational and commercial sense in the development of our future technology," said Lawrence Hoskins. "We see this as key to delivering an integrated and efficient service at reasonable cost to our customers."
"Close operational and technical collaboration whilst respecting individual responsibilities will be key to the success of this important initiative. It is a major contribution to SES and thus enabling SESAR in the future" said Dieter Kaden.
"The high cost of such a development, and the push for European interoperability and harmonisation, lead the iTEC Parties to invite other European Air Navigation Service Provider to participate in this development," said Francisco Quereda.
The three companies have been working closely together to define requirements and specifications for a common flight data processing system. The resulting iTEC solution builds upon the previous Eurocontrol eFDP project, the strengths of the parties' own air traffic management systems (e.g. SACTA and VAFORIT), and new systems developments (e.g. continuous 4D-Trajectory tools).
To expedite development and reduce maintenance cost iTEC will use object-oriented architecture in compliance with relevant standards. The advantage of adopting a joint and incremental approach includes reduced risk with a controlled level of change at each step.
iTEC will be developed to be compliant with SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research Programme) concept of operations; all three partners are already contributing to developing the concept.
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