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The Satellite Data Link System (SDLS), is a satellite-based radio

communication system, which under feasibility studies operating
since 1994.Supported by ESA Telecom, a consortium of European
companies led by Alcatel of France are embarking on a satellite
project worth 4.5 million Euro that will help ease congestion of the
VHF spectrum to meet the ever increasing communication
requirements resulting from the air traffic growth, which are
predicted to saturate current systems around 2010 to 2015.

SDLS will take over for ground-based VHF systems to provide

digital data transmissions between aircraft and ground facilities,
including control towers and airline operations control centers. It
aims to provide:

 Aircraft positioning data that complements that from

traditional infrastructures (radar, etc.), to be used by air traffic

 Technical data to increase aircraft operating efficiency.

It could also be integrated in the Galileo satnav system to supply

navigation and communications services to civil aviation authorities

The SDLS Concept can take advantage of both the existing AMSS
deployed ground infrastructure using large Ground Earths Stations
(GES) and small VSAT-based Ground Earth Stations, which can be
deployed more easily and cheaply. The key technical characteristics
of the SDLS concept are:

 Use of Geostationary Satellite transparent transponders, with

mobile access in AMS(R)S band (aeronautical sub-band),

 CDMA access technique,

 Decentralised access capability,

 Incremental deployment.
SDLS is designed to demonstrate technical performances to a
standard necessary to meet communication requirements of future
ATM systems and, more specifically, Air Traffic Services (ATS)
applications, as currently specified by the International Civil
Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Nowadays the system is still in its developing phase with two

prototypes located in Toulouse and Rome, thay are called SDSL
Demonstrators and are composed by two Aeronautical Earth Station
(AES - low cost approach) and two Ground Earth Stations (GES).
The SDLS Demonstrator proves that the performances achievable
using a satellite media are compatible with the requirements of the
aeronautical community for ATM missions. Performance has been
evaluated at the application service level. Initial evaluation has
shown that SDLS can meet many of the communication
requirements of emerging ATS data applications being defined by
Due to the succes of the experiments the system development road
map aims at an operational introduction date of around 2010 and the
results of this work are now being used to help define the next
generation satellite system.

 MASSAO y Aerofleet projects

Management and Supervision System for Special Aircraft Operations

(MASSAO) is a project developed by ESA in collaboration with
Euro Telematik AG and it is related to operation management of
special aircraft fleets, all-weather operation of aircraft, and tracking
of air vehicles independent from ATC radar coverage. This system
allow an operating centre personnel to track, monitor, and
communicate with aircraft within their full operating range, even in
large distances from the centre, via satellite communication.

The AeroFleet system is a solution,based on MASSAO concept, for

operators of small and medium size aircraft and helicopter fleets
providing digital air-ground communication for efficient fleet
management. The system is capable to provide local and global
communications, digital 2-way ground-air messaging, position
reporting and navigation, airborne mission management, uplink of
weather information.

The system consists of the following components:

 Cockpit display CDTI-2000. This display is the user terminal

of the air fleet management system to the air crew and will
allow the review and the creation of messages over the
satellite communication link. It is further capable of
presenting data sent from ground to the crew in graphical
way (e.g. weather information, mission dependent area of
operation). This display will interface with the airborne part
of the Satcom equipment to provide further communication
functions without flight crew involvement. The CDTI-2000 is
certified to be used in aircraft.

 Iridium satellite transceiver. A certified transceiver will

provide a global, constant, and reliable link between the
aircraft or the helicopter and the dispatch center of the
operator on the ground.

 Dispatch station software. This software allows the dispatch

personnel on the ground to communicate with the flight
crews and to visualize information sent from the aircraft (e.g.
position reports, status messages, etc).
The system works in the following way; the CDTI-2000 unit serves
as the core unit and the crew interface to the on-board system. It
exchanges information with the satellite communication transceiver
via a serial interface. After the transmission from the transceiver to
the satellite communication service providers ground segment the
message is forwarded by e-mail to the AeroFleet Server. The ground
station AeroFleet retrieves the e-mail and decodes the message.

A number of dispatcher work stations (Clients) can be connected to

this server in the operators centre. Staff can monitor and manage
aircraft operations.

Messages from the ground system to the CDTI-2000 are handled in a

similar way. In this case messages can be send from the server to the
on-board transceiver by means of a dedicated e-mail address. The
data is then transmitted further to the CDTI-2000.
This system provides a low cost to manage small fleet with a small
infrastructure. It shall be the solution fo small companies to achieve
good low cost operations. Flexibility, big coverage, low cost,
compatibility with VHF communications are the strong points
making it useful for many aplications (medical asistance, rescue, fire
extinctions,...). It gives a cue of the development of the future ATM
concept, with an important role for the satellites, wide coverage, low
cost and easy implementation.

Multi Function Display CDTI-2000

 OPTIMAL project

Optimised Procedures and Techniques for the Improvement of

Approach and Landing (OPTIMAL) is large scale European project
involving 24 partners and which is aiming to define and validate
innovative procedures for approach and landing phases of both
aircraft and rotorcraft in a pre-operational airport environment. It
started early 2004 and will last for about 4 years. The objective is to
increase airport capacity while minimising noise nuisance and
improving operational safety. Those achievements will be enabled by
today available precision approach landing aids (ILS, MLS), as well
as new satellite-based guidance systems ( SBAS, GBAS), etc, more
accurate navigation means (RNP 0.1), enhanced airborne systems,
such as autonomous FLS, for Non-Precision Approaches and
enhanced ground systems to support Air Traffic Control. The target
time frame for the operational implementation of the OPTIMAL
proposed operational concept is 2010 and beyond.

The objectives of the OPTIMAL project are:

 To define new/enhanced operational procedures for approach

and landing, for aeroplanes and rotorcrafts also, in order to
increase capacity, efficiency and safety, and decrease noise
exposure, using advanced navigation functions and enhanced

 To assess in full scale / real life the near-term approach &

landing procedures and the associated airborne and ground

 To study and experiment more longer term (beyond 2015)

functions (airborne and on ground).

Expected Benefits:

 To close the gap between capacity in low visibility conditions

and good visibility conditions.

 To increase the arrival rate at major airports significantly

above the level achieved by current best practices.

 To better accommodate commuter and general aviation


 To allow aircraft / rotorcraft simultaneous IFR operation, in

order to generate additional capacity.

 To reduce the environmental impact by avoiding urban areas

and by optimising the noise & gas emission during landing
phases (i.e. continuous descent profiles).

 To accelerate the introduction of Approach Procedures with

Vertical Guidance (APV).

 To take full advantage of the RNP-RNAV capabilities that

are now available.

 To increase Safety using vertical guidance.

 Conclussions

 Role in CNS/ATM

"For all phases of flight, to enable the safe, economic,

expeditious and orderly flow of traffic through the provision
of ATM services which are adaptable and scaleable to the
requirements of all users and areas of European airspace.
The services shall meet demand in a cost-effective way, be
globally inter-operable, operate to uniform principles, be
environmentally sustainable and satisfy national security
requirements."(ATM strategy for the years 2000+ vol.1 ,
Eurocontrol, ed. 2003).

The necessity of a change in the current ATM system is

evident but also in the goals that are set. The new worlwide
situation, the privatization of the aerospacial industry, the
recent terrorist attacks and the continous globalization make
the international community change the point of view to plan
the new ATM structure, some concepts has to be under
consideration besides the capacity, safety and accuracy.

To enhance the security to confront intentional attacks, to

develop new technologies with an affordable rate of cost-
effectiveness, to provide a global seamless coverage, the
interoperability between the differents systems and a strong
cooperation with the military system; all of them are the
foundations for the future Air Traffic Management.

The satellite techonologies and systems will play and

important role in the next years because combine all the
features required for the ATM strategy. Some of them, as
GNSS phase 1, are in an advanced state of development and
its implementation is nowadays almost completed. Other
ones are still in developing phase but to reach all the goals
more systems have to be created.

The ARTES programme of the European Space Agency

(ESA) describes all the projects achieved by this organization
and it is a good indicator about technological evolution in the
following years.

All the aforementioned systems complywith the purposes in

each element of ATM, communication, navigation and
surveillance (CNS). These goals are described in the
following graphic.
Communication; the main system to provide this service is
the constellation of INMARSAT which was created with
such purpose. Other private companies as INTELSAT or
EUTELSAT could be a good option for exchanging
information but they don´t comply with the ICAO
requirements for aeronautical communications; however, the
combination with IRIDIUM could provide a good back-up
system for communications with a wide coverage. In anyway,
with such systems, the passengers will obtain access to fax,
telephony and internet services during the flight although, by
the moment, they cannot be used for safety communications.

In the other hand the GNSS infrastructure has the capability

to be used for communications giving, enhacing the

For these reasons it is foreseen that satellite system will

replace the HF communications in ocean regions soon, but
VHF Data Link systems will be a necessary complement for
such scope. The mode 2 is in use currently and the mode 4
looks to be the next generation with the capability of hold
voice communications.

Satellite Data Link System (SDLS) is an ambicious project

managed by ESA which will share tasks with VDL,
discharging the saturated VHF band.

The aero fleet project is a good example of a satellite solution

for private companies although it has not any usefulness for
safety purposes.

Navigation; GNSS will provide a seamless worldwide

coverage with enough precission to en-route phases of flight,
nevertheless for high density areas and approaching phases it
is completely necessary augmentations or ground systems.
The second phase with only the two constellations (GPS,
GALILEO) and SBAS reach the required performance till
CAT I, this is far away from a global coverage but the
combination with other kind of augmentations (RAIM,
AAIM, LAAS) or ground systems (MLS, ILS, VOR-DME).

INMARSAT and the VDL technology support also the

navigation system being a part of SBAS and GBAS
Private companies of communications might send also the
GPS signal in order to enhance it, although they don´t comply
with ICAO standards.

Surveillance;Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR), Monopulse

Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR) and Mode S are the
systems in use currently but they cannot be consistent with
the gate-to-gate concept because in remote areas the service
is not provide. The solution aims to be the Automatic
Dependent Surveillance, Contract (ADS-C) or Broadcast

The general application of ADS will require that all aircraft in

a region of airspace be equipped with satellite navigation and
some form of data link. Thus GNSS, communication
satellites and VDL techniques (in special mode 4) are critical
for the development of such technology.

Below is shown a table with a foreseen about the evolution

the technology for the different elements of the ATM in every
kind of airspace, nowadays an din the year 2015.

Airspace Function Current system Future System

Barometric altimetry
Oceanic INS/IRS
continental En-
VHF voice/ data A
route airspace VHF voice
Communications data/voice HF voic
with high / VF voice
and South poles on
traffic Primary radar/SSRVoice
Barometric altime
Navigation Barometric altimetry
Continental INS/IRS
airspace with
high-density VHF voice/data A
traffic data/voice SSR M
Primary radar
SSR Mode A/C
SSR[Mode A/C or
Barometric altimetry
Navigation VOR/DME
Terminal areas Barometric altime
with high- Communications INS/IRS
density VHF voice/data
Surveillance SSR Mode S data
Primary radar
AMSS data /voice
SSR Mode a/c
SSR [Mode A/C o