Thales and DSNA shared news of the first operational implementation of the 4-Flight air traffic control system in France. (Photo: Thales/DSNA SYLVAIN CAMBON)
Thales and the French air navigation service provider, DSNA, have unveiled the successful implementation of the next-generation air traffic control system, called 4-Flight. It is a stripless air traffic control system for managing high-density airspace. The system was implemented at the area control center (ACC) in Reims, France, as well as Marseille ACC, in early December 2022.
4-Flight includes COFLIGHT, an advanced system for flight data processing, to provide more accurate forecasts to air traffic controllers for flight trajectory optimization. 4-Flight also offers an intuitive human-machine interface. The system facilitates greater focus on safety, efficiency, and other important tasks for air traffic management (ATM).
The 4-Flight air traffic control system is co-funded by the EU as part of the Single European Sky technical modernization program. It is registered as a SESAR (Single European Sky for ATM Research) Solution and is interoperable with other air navigation systems in Europe. According to the announcement from Thales, “4-FLIGHT is connected to ten Air Navigation Service Providers neighbouring France: ENAIRE, DGAC Algeria, ENAV, Skyguide, DFS, the Maastricht UAC, Skeyes, ANA, NATS, IAA and the Network Manager.”
DSNA (Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne) plans to extend the ATM system to France’s three other ACCs by the year 2025. The CEO of DSNA, Florian Guillermet, remarked on the complexity of the project, saying, “The implementation in 2022 of 4-FLIGHT [...] proves the commitment of DSNA to pursue its technological modernization to deliver the challenges of the Digital European Sky, and high-quality and more competitive service.”
DSNA originally launched the 4-Flight program in partnership with ENAV, the Italian ANSP, back in 2008. A few years later, Thales and DSNA announced their collaboration to develop the French component of the 4-Flight system. Jean-Loïc Galle of Thales explained that the system would be a continuation of the company’s EUROCAT product, an ATM automation system that was rebranded as TopSky in 2012.