Eurocontrol and the US Federal Aviation Administration are to work together to create procedures for the introduction of the aeronautical telecommunications network(ATN).

Eurocontrol and ATN Systems (ATNSI), the US group backed by the FAA, have agreed to develop a common American-European reference aeronautical telecommunication network (CAERAF).

ATNSI, owned by 11 US airlines, aims to develop technical standards, software and test equipment for the ATN in conjunction with the FAA. The CAERAF will be used as a focus for harmonising approval and certification procedures for ATN ground-based and airborne systems between Europe and the USA, and is to start operating in the last quarter of 1999.

A Prototype ATN "ProATN" is already being developed in Europe under a project backed by the European Commission and co-ordinated by Sofréavia of France. This is now likely to harmonise with whatever ATNSI produces.

ProATN will provide the communications infrastructure for feasibility demonstrations and full evaluation of the datalink services being developed under the European pre-operational datalink applications (EOLIA) programme, led by Aerospatiale. A ProATN demonstration is planned on an Airbus aircraft at the Paris air show in June 1999.

Once the ProATN is developed, the applications developed under the EOLIA will be loaded onto the computer "end systems", deployed at eight European ground sites and it will be integrated into ground-based simulators for evaluation.

Source: Flight International