The FAA awarded SITA its Oceanic Data Link contract for FANS 1/A-based managed ATC services in U.S.-controlled oceanic airspace. (SITA)

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) will manage its oceanic airspace with SITA’s air traffic controller (ATC) data link service, after the agency awarded the Switzerland-based aviation IT service provider its Oceanic Data Link (ODL) contract.

Under the ODL contract, SITA’s Automatic-Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) and Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) managed services is now used by aircraft throughout the entirety of U.S. domestic and oceanic airspace. In emailed statements to Avionics International, SITA explained that no updates or changes are required to the FAA’s air traffic system and that the ODL is an extension of the existing FANS 1/A-based data link messages that controllers have been capable of exchanging with pilots since the 1990s.

“Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) messages are mainly used in the issuance of altitude, route, altimeter, or frequency clearances and instructions,” a representative for SITA said via email.

SITA’s technology roadmap includes adding support for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) to its ATC data link services that could improve some aspects of the system, such as the enablement of trajectory-based operations. The company has outlined its vision for the data link service augmenting its existing VHF Digital Link Mode 2 (VDLm2) with IPv6 in its “SITA Internet Protocol Suite (S-IPS) Concept” white paper.

“SITA’s FANS managed service allows FANS-1/A capable ATC system to connect and exchange messages with FANS-1/A-capable aircraft systems. Updates we have added are related to network infrastructure and message handling logic such as ‘Uplink nesting,’ introduced in 2019, that allows higher priority ATC messages to interrupt preceding lower priority [Airline Operational Center] AOC messages and be delivered in priority,” the representative said.

The oceanic airspace covered by the ODL contract links the United States to Europe and Asia, covering 62.4-million square kilometers of airspace, according to SITA.

“Our air traffic control communication solutions are used by more than 80 air navigational service providers globally and now also by the FAA in one of the world’s busiest airspaces,” Sébastien Fabre, CEO of SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, said in a statement. “As traffic slowly resumes post-COVID, a step change is needed to increase airspace capacity and make aviation more sustainable and efficient. We are privileged that the FAA, as a leading and forward thinking ANSP, has selected SITA and we look forward to tackling these challenges together.”

Receive the latest avionics news right to your inbox