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Mon, 30 Sep 2019

CAAS and SITAOnAir to Explore Space-Based VHF Communications for ATM

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and SITAOnAir have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the deployment of space-based Very High Frequency (VHF) voice communications for air traffic management (ATM) in the Singapore Flight Information Region.

The agreement was signed last week by Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General, CAAS, and Mr David Lavorel, Chief Executive Officer, SITAOnAir, on the sidelines of the 40th Session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly in Montreal, Canada.

Mr David Lavorel (left), Chief Executive Officer, SITAOnAir and Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General, CAAS, at the signing ceremony. Click to enlarge.

“Space-based VHF voice communications represents the next level of ATM communications capability,” said Mr Kevin Shum, Director General, CAAS. “When used in combination with space-based air traffic surveillance systems, it can overcome the limitations of terrestrial based ATM solutions. This MOU is the third collaboration on space-based VHF voice communications that CAAS has established. By bringing together strong complementary capabilities to develop space-based VHF voice communications, we hope to further enhance safety and airspace efficiency within the Singapore Flight Information Region.”

As part of this MOU, SITAOnAir, one of the primary Digital Service Providers (DSP) providing Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) services (digital data link services) for transmission of short messages between aircraft and ground station via satellites, will contribute to various studies focusing on dual voice and data capability.

SITAOnAir will also engage the industry to explore the implementation of unmanned aerial platforms which would hover around 60,000ft above the earth’s surface, in the stratosphere. This solution could potentially be an alternative to a space-based approach to serve high-traffic routes and regions.

Mr David Lavorel, Chief Executive Officer, SITAOnAir, said, “Our focus, first and foremost, is the safety and efficiency of air traffic in increasingly busy skies. The research conducted in Singapore propels the industry into the next stage of air traffic management innovation and communications, providing the potential for key solutions which will keep the skies smarter, even in areas where ground-based VHF is not possible.”

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