NATS’ Prestwick center. Photo from file
NATS has awarded a contract to Altran for the development of a next-generation air traffic control detection tool. Called “FourSight,” the tool would succeed NATS’ iFACTS system.
IFACTS, introduced in 2011, predicts an aircraft’s location up to 18 minutes into the future. NATS said the system has helped cut emissions and resulted in a 40% capacity increase for some airspace sectors. It is only used in NATS’ London Area Control operation, though. FourSight would explore the benefits of that kind of tool applied across the NATS en-route operation at Swanwick and Prestwick centers.
“NATS is investing heavily in the replacement of our current operational systems with modern SESAR compliant technology that can offer airspace users increased safety, more network capacity and maximum opportunities for fuel efficient routes,” said Tim Bullock, NATS director of supply chain. “To do this we have built a supplier ecosystem that brings together some of the industry’s leading developers and innovators. This contract award is the latest step in a long-standing relationship between NATS and Altran that has featured a number of landmark air traffic management projects and I’m delighted to see that continue.”
Altran has already been working with NATS to develop a new strategic human-machine interface for its controllers. The aim is to have a common interface across all positions at both Swanwick and Prestwick.