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ATC

London City leads in UK for remote air traffic services

19 May 2017
Screens showing the augmented reality data for the new digital remote tower at London City Airport. Source: London City Airport

London City announced on 18 May 2017 that it is working with NATS Services Ltd to become the first UK airport to operate a remote air traffic control (ATC) solution, in a multimillion-pound project.

Architectural drawing of the digital tower at London City Airport. (Pascall + Watson)Architectural drawing of the digital tower at London City Airport. (Pascall + Watson)

A 50 m-tall digital tower, designed by Pascall + Watson, will be operational in 2019. It will be built on a site currently accommodating the long-stay car park at London City, in line with the midway point of the 1,500 m runway.

Construction work is out to tender. The new digital tower replaces infrastructure dating from the 1980s that is nearing the end of its service life.

Equipped with technology from Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, the digital tower will feed data via a superfast secure fibre connection to a dedicated remote ATC room at the NATS centre in Swanwick, approximately 130 km away.

Mounted on the top of the new tower will be 14 360-degree high-definition (HD) and two pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras capable of 30x magnification. These will deliver a live seamless panoramic view of the runway and airfield, combined with other sensor feeds, to give NATS controllers at Swanwick an augmented-reality view of operations at London City.

Real-time information can be overlaid on the controller displays at Swanwick, such as onscreen labels, radar data, and aircraft call signs. NATS controllers will also be able to track moving objects.

At World ATM Congress in March 2017, NATS announced that it would operate a remote tower demonstrator from Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions (a joint venture between Saab and Swedish air navigation service provider LFV) at Swanwick.

See related article at: http://www.ihsairport360.com/article/9120/nats-swoops-for-major-stake-in-searidge

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To contact the author of this article, email Ben.Vogel@ihsmarkit.com


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