We play a leading role in developing standards for the air traffic control (ATC) sector, especially in the use of data links to aircraft, complementing voice radio communications and providing the foundation for new generation air-traffic management.
In 1990, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) launched the Very High Frequency Digital Link (VHF VDL) standardization. The European Union Commission Single European Sky program will be adopting the mandate for the use of VHF VDL standardization by all short-haul aircraft by 2015.
Eurocontrol’s Link 2000+ project led to the introduction of Controller Pilot Data Link Communications and has connected their Maastricht centre system to the SITA network of VDL ground stations to communicate with SITA customer aircraft.
Controller Pilot Data Link Communications in the dense airspace of Europe and the United States highlights the need of the new VHF VDL system. Air traffic control currently only delivers airport departure clearances with the lower capacity VHF ACARS system.
We contributed to VDL protocol design in the ICAO standard to make it provide the maximum data capacity possible in a shared narrow VHF radio channel with the 200 nautical-mile range needed for aircraft communications.
SITA supports the implementation of VDL ground stations around the world to modernize ATC systems and allow controllers to handle aircraft more safely.