Nokia Selected for EU Aviation Communication, Navigation and Surveillance Research

Nokia, alongside Honeywell as consortium lead, has been selected as part of Project FACT (Future All Aviation CNS Technology), a research and development program initiated under the SESAR 2020 program, managed by the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking.

Nokia will provide 4G and 5G mission-critical infrastructure, consulting and services to Project FACT, which will research future deployment of a new, consistent technology platform for communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS) services across air traffic management (ATM).

“Project FACT is an ambitious endeavor that seeks to increase safety, security, efficiency and resilience of future air traffic communications globally through development of an integrated, next-generation CNS architecture,” Mervyn Harris, head of Air Traffic Management, Nokia said. “As part of the SESAR ATM Master Plan, Project FACT seeks to maximize the benefits of high-bandwidth connectivity that can handle fast-growing data volumes while also preserving utmost safety standards. This consortium assembles outstanding levels of complementary skills and expertise, and Nokia is eager to apply its aviation domain experience and industry-specific technical insight.”

Petr Casek, lead R&D engineer, Honeywell International and Project FACT manager said: “This project brings the best of two worlds together and paves the way for future high availability and improvements in quality data and communication infrastructure.”

The FACT Project will deliver updates to existing CNS technologies, where it is anticipated that applications such as controller-pilot datalink communications, the method by which air traffic controllers communicate with pilots, can also be deployed over new and emerging high-bandwidth mobile broadband technologies. The project will also research potential integration of today’s conventional ATM systems with emerging U-Space services such as drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles.

Nokia will be responsible for leading a feasibility study and test specification for the evolution of legacy CNS systems to a new integrated approach. Nokia laboratory trials are projected to take place in the summer of 2021, with field testing by June 2022.

Harris added, “With current mobile communications to the aircraft cockpit using limited bandwidth technology, there is a need to manage an effective transition to a more robust and scalable IP-based technology capable of handling high speeds with low latency. Project FACT has the potential to help transform CNS to meet this goal, with safety and legacy services migration support as high priorities.”

The project will enable digitalized operators to test 4G and 5G for use in aviation, supporting a common performance-based approach, and addressing the future fast-growing spectrum needs of airspace users.

Program FACT participants include Honeywell International as consortium lead, AOPA-Germany, Eskisehir Teknik Üniversitesi, EUROCONTROL, Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, Nokia and Sarp Havacilik Lojistik Turizm Sanayi ve Tic A.S. The project is receiving funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

In November 2019, it was announced that Nokia will upgrade the entire ground-to-ground networking infrastructure for ENAV, transitioning its network to the new ENET-2 architecture. Nokia has also announced successful deployment of the Irish Aviation Authority’s next-generation air traffic control network at its new West Ireland disaster recovery center.

The SESAR Joint Undertaking coordinates and concentrates all EU research and development activities in ATM, pooling expertise to develop the new generation of ATM. The SESAR Joint Undertaking currently involves around 1,500 experts in Europe and beyond. This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 894616.