SITA and Egis of France were selected by U.K. air navigation service provider NATS to provide data link front end processor (DL-FEP) and Pro-ATN routers. This will enable NATS, which services aircraft flying in UK airspace and the eastern part of the North Atlantic, to meet the European Commission’s 2013 deadline for the implementation of controller pilot data link communications (CPDLC) across Europe.
The DL-FEP and Pro-ATN systems will be deployed at NATS’ area control centers at Swanwick, Prestwick and its corporate and technical centre in Whiteley. The DL-FEP, which was jointly developed by SITA and Egis Avia, will connect the NATS flight data processing systems via VHF data link networks with aircraft systems using CPDLC. It acts as a data link communication gateway, enabling the NATS air traffic control system to seamlessly communicate with both FANS (future air navigation systems) and ATN (aeronautical telecommunication network) equipped aircraft.
CPDLC enables pilots and air traffic controllers to exchange certain routine air traffic control messages via data link replacing the traditional means of communication over radio. Eurocontrol estimates CPDLC implementation in European airspace will bring an 11 percent increase in capacity and a 29 percent reduction in controller workload.