Implementation of Australia’s pioneering OneSky civil-military air traffic management system (CMATS) has slipped by at least two years as Airservices Australia, the Department of Defence and Thales finalise plans for the complex programme.

Canberra announced Thales as the successful contractor for the then A$600 million ($460 million) programme at the 2015 Avalon air show. The project will see the replacement of Airservices’ civil The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS) and the Australian Defence Air Traffic System (ADATS) with a single, harmonised system. Both TAAATS and ADATS are approaching the end of their service lives and are unable to cope with forecast traffic growth.

Under the original plan, the new CMATS was to be implemented in phases, starting in 2018 and resulting in final operational capability in 2020/21.

CMATS full operational capability is now expected in 2023, with transition activities starting in 2018, including a new voice communication system, according to Rodney Sciortino, OneSky integration manager.

Airservices attributes the delay to the complexity of the commercial arrangements and the complexity of the programme itself. “This is the first of its kind in the world. It’s worth getting it right,” says Stephen Angus, executive general manager air navigation services at Airservices Australia.

The partners now have stability in Airservices’ and Defence’s “cocktail of requirements”, says Sciortino. Considerable progress has been made over the last six months in particular, with a minor amount of contractual arrangements still to be finalised, says Angus. The next steps include detailed programme scheduling and integration planning.

Key features of CMATS will include wake turbulence alerts, airport collaborative decision making, conflict detection with special use airspace, ATC sector flexibility, a single flight information region, enhanced conflict detection and long range air traffic flow management. It will support seamless upgrades, provide enhanced resilience, service continuity and the flexible use of airspace, Airservices says.

Airservices has recently invested in further enhancements to TAAATS and is confident the system is sustainable through to 2023, says Angus.

OneSky has been the subject of investigation by the Australian National Audit Office, with a first report issued last year raising concerns about Airservices’ procurement processes. A second ANAO report, which is due to be tabled this month, is investigating whether the OneSky tender provides value with public resources and achieves required timeframes for the effective replacement of the existing ATM systems.

Angus says Airservices is confident that the programme does provide value for money for the country, although the service provider declines to detail current costs for the programme.

Source: Flight International