European and American regulators have presented proposals to modernize and harmonize aviation data connectivity, which currently relies on limited bandwidth connections.
Air-to-ground data exchange supports air traffic management and airline operations, but the European Union Aviation Safety Agency says technologies such as VHF datalink and satellite communications from first generation are “fragmented” and “not always interoperable”.
Demands for connectivity are increasing due to the greater capacity of air traffic services data links and the increased use by modern aircraft of transmitting operations and maintenance data.
“There is a need to look to the future and bring the system up to modern standards using technologies like broadband,” he says.
EASA and the US FAA have cooperated with Airbus and Boeing on a proposal to modernize aviation data communications by 2035 and maximize the use of scarce spectrum resources.
The FAA’s Acting Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, David Boulter, says data and connectivity “is driving aerospace progress.”
The joint working group analyzed long-term connectivity needs in various areas – air traffic management, flight operations, aeronautical information services and autonomy – and the status of potential solutions.
It is targeting B2 over the Internet Protocol Suite for air traffic management connectivity, using VDL2 data link and satcom performance class B for future physical links.
Task force members selected their recommended options based on security, capacity, spectral and economic efficiency, interoperability, and future-proof technology.
“The recommended solutions, along with the proposed transition roadmap, are defined to limit overall capital costs…and to optimize the sharing of complexity between air and ground, while delivering the required performance. “, says the working group’s proposal.
It also takes into account the need to support multiple protocols and aircraft configurations during the transition.
“For the first time, we have a common vision of the four organizations of the working group, to establish modern air-ground communications that will meet the requirements of tomorrow”, says Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA. “This is the first step towards achieving that goal, and a major one.