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Mon, 12 Feb 2018

CAAS, ST Electronics and GomSpace to Study Space-Based VHF Communications for ATM

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Singapore Technologies Electronics Limited (ST Electronics) and GomSpace signed a research collaboration agreement on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow last week, to conduct a design study on the implementation of space-based Very High Frequency (VHF) communications for air traffic management (ATM) in the Singapore Flight Information Region (FIR).

 The agreement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the three parties in July 2017 to explore the application and deployment of the space-based system.

 The space-based VHF communications system involves the mounting of VHF communications equipment onto a constellation of small low-earth-orbit satellites to enable clear and real-time communications between air traffic controllers and pilots over oceanic airspace.

(From left to right) Mr Tang Kum Chuen, President of Satellite Systems, ST Electronics; Mr Soh Poh Theen, Deputy Director-General (Air Navigation Services), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS); and Mr Børge Witthøft, Chief Commercial Officer, GomSpace; sign a research collaboration agreement to conduct a design study on the implementation of space-based Very High Frequency (VHF) communications for air traffic management in the Singapore Flight Information Region. Click to enlarge.

This technology will improve safety and facilitate the safe reduction in separation between aircraft, from the current 80 nautical miles (NM) to potentially 5NM, in airspace where ground-based VHF communications is currently not available, increasing ATM capacity and enabling more efficient use of airspace.

 The implementation of space-based VHF communications in the Singapore FIR will entail a design study phase, a proof of concept phase, and finally an operationalisation phase.

 With the collective expertise of CAAS, ST Electronics and GomSpace, the design study is expected to deliver solutions to overcome implementation challenges identified during the preliminary analyses, by defining baseline requirements, developing conceptual designs and conducting simulations.

 “We are constantly planning ahead of the curve, driving innovation and investing in cutting-edge technologies to improve air traffic management in the Singapore FIR and the region. We are encouraged by this next milestone towards implementing space-based VHF communications for ATM, which will be a world-first, and pave the way for more ground-breaking solutions to safely support the growing air traffic in the region,” said Mr Soh Poh Theen, Deputy Director-General (Air Navigation Services), CAAS.

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