Saab is demonstrating its remote tower air traffic control (ATC) offering at the Farnborough air show, as it lines up three new potential customers for the sensor-based management system.
In April 2015 the system was declared operational in Sweden, and on 29 June 2016 a contract was signed with Swedish civil aviation authority LFV to establish the new company Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions.
Anders Carp, head of traffic management for Saab, says that the certification in Sweden should roll out to other nations, and 75-80% of this is applicable to other operators.
“As we can see here at Farnborough this year, this is live and working and we’re ready to take the next step,” Carp says. The system replaces traditional ATC towers with a sensor-based system that can be located anywhere, and numerous sites can be operated from one centre.
Three potential customers are being lined up, including one military user, Carp says. Two of these are expected to be contracted by the end of the year.
In Ireland there are two sites testing the system – Cork and Shannon – which are both controlled from Dublin airport. Testing is expected to complete there in 2017, and then Irish regulators will decide if the system can be used in the country.
Two sites in the Netherlands – Schihpol and Groningen – are also trialling it, while in the USA, Leesburg airport in Virginia is also assessing it before passing a safety case for the use of the system onto the Federal Aviation Administration.
“We’ve done some testing in tracking drones,” Carp adds. The system detects pixels, so can track anything moving, but the operator is also able to dismiss the tracking of irrelevant objects like birds.