Frequentis wins ground-breaking FABEC N-VCS contract

Frequentis has won the contract to supply the new N-VCS voice communication system for the FABEC programme.
DSNA (the French air navigation service provider) and EUROCONTROL´s Maastricht Upper AreaControl Centre (UAC) have entrusted Frequentis with the development, deployment and maintenance of their future voice communication systems, to be developed in line with the Functional Airspace Block Europe Central (FABEC) common specifications.
The FABEC N-VCS project will drive the next generation of communication in air traffic management in the European airspace, implementing new technology standards for the global ATM industry.
In May 2011, the three organisations signed a framework agreement and the first two so-called instantiation (system delivery) contracts to set a new agenda for 21st century air traffic management.
To meet the requirements regarding back-up facilities and on-site support in France, Frequentis will entrust the French company CS with the main tasks in France. The multi-year project will allow Frequentis to supply next-generation voice communication systems to the EUROCONTROL MUAC and, in partnership with CS, to five key French area control centres as a core part of the FABEC project.
The FABEC-compliant N-VCS product will incorporate a number of technological innovations designed to address the ever-more complex and demanding safety and efficiency needs of tomorrow´s airspaces. As such, the signed contracts represent a key milestone for both Frequentis and the wider ATM industry.
The new system will provide first-of-its-kind, modern Air Traffic Service Units based on specifications defined within the FABEC task force to implement the FABEC operational concept. The underlying theme of FABEC is interoperability at both operational and technical levels, at an affordable cost, enabling members to enhance their ATM communications infrastructure and move towards the Single European Sky vision.
The following technical highlights will ensure the system implements the required technology standards:
* Smooth transition from existing legacy systems to IP-enabled communication services, leveraging IP technology to enhance air/ground and ground/ground ATM communications for facilities of all sizes: from a single site to networked multi-site operations (based on EUROCAE ED-137A, also referenced by ICAOs Manual for the ATN using IPS Standards and Protocols DOC 9896 Edition 2.0)
* Sharing of FABEC-wide communication assets and activities, such as workload (e.g. persons/roles), physical resources (e.g. radios) and delegation of management responsibilities (e.g. sector delegation). The project will offer the technical possibility to standardise procedures and technical interface protocols between ANSPs, based on EUROCAE ED-137A and laying grounds for further development of it.
* Technology insertion on many levels to ensure best performance (e.g. network-wide dynamic audio delay compensation) and full functionality (e.g. interworking with radar systems for MUAC) with highest quality, safety and interoperability (e.g. software assurance as per EUROCAE ED-153 SWAL 3 to satisfy EC regulation 482/2008 , ESARR6 and EC regulation 552/2004) for future harmonised air traffic control operations.
The contract offers a template for future ATM projects related to FABEC and other cross-border initiatives that demand a common solution addressing the different needs of multiple air navigation service providers in various regions. Controllers and engineering staff alike will benefit from the combination of operational efficiency with technical flexibility and easy-to-use human-machine interfaces.
The contract also confirms, once again, the status of Frequentis as the global market leader for communication systems in air traffic control.
The project is one of the most important and challenging in ATM history, given its standard-setting role and tough technological requirements: Frequentis won the contract in the face of many bids from major European and US competitors.
This success not only reflects the companys long history of technology and innovation leadership, but also its commitment to long-standing, cooperative partnerships with clients and its determination to deliver state-of-the-art, highly reliable systems that account for specific customer needs.
“The partners in the FABEC project are embarking on one of the most significant ATM developments of all times,” said Hannes Bardach, CEO of Vienna-based Frequentis. “We´re thrilled that our proven expertise, innovation and ability to meet the trickiest technology and project challenges have led EUROCONTROL and DSNA to entrust us with such an important, standards-setting task.”

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