SITA Steps Closer to FAA Nextgen with USA VDL Coverage

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Airlines in the United States can now avail of coast-to-coast coverage of the ICAO VHF Digital Link Mode 2 service (VDL Mode 2).

This service will be required by the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) NextGen Data Comm program and marks the completion of a significant upgrade to the SITA US aircraft communications network.

The FAA NextGen Data Comm program will create one of the pillars of the NextGen system, alongside satellite-based ADS-B surveillance and GPS navigation. The program will enable domestic controllers to complement the existing voice radio with data links to pilots and aircraft flight management systems allowing more complex and flexible air traffic management.

Philip Clinch, SITA Vice President Aircraft Services, said, SITA has been working on the VDL services the FAA requires since ICAO VDL standardization was first launched. The VDL definition took advantage of emerging digital radio technology to increase link capacity by a factor of 20 compared to the VHF ACARS link which has been available up to now. Our VDL investment US-wide shows the FAA, and the aircraft operators, that SITA has the VDL network in place and ready for when aircraft are equipped to use the FAA Data Comm services.

SITA has been the FAA's Oceanic data communication service provider since 1999. SITA's service supports air traffic control systems located in Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs) at Oakland, CA, Anchorage, AK, and Ronkonkoma, NY as part of the ATOP and FDP-2000 system(s).

Data communication service is used by Air Traffic Control and aircraft equipped with data communication avionic technology operating in U.S. controlled Oceanic airspace. The Oceanic airspace covers more than 24.6 million square miles of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. It includes control of air traffic in the South Pacific, to the Northern Polar Routes, the North Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico.

SITA has added VDL radios to 50 of the approximately 300 VHF ACARS station sites in the USA already used by many of the leading US airlines. The VDL coverage expansion immediately provides SITA customer airlines, which have already installed VDL radios, with its 20 fold increase in link capacity for ACARS.

SITA's network of VHF ground stations has developed steadily since 1984, and currently includes more than 1,200 stations in 157 countries. As the air transport communications specialist, SITA facilitates the exchange of more than 1.5 million ACARS messages per day and supports over 200 contracted customer airlines with more than 11,500 individual aircraft in routine airline operation.

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