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ATC

Blended civil/military ATM makes progress in Australia

24 May 2018
The OneSKY programme for harmonised air traffic management will provide services for major Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) bases (pictured is an EA-18G aircraft at RAAF Amberley). Source: Australian Department of Defence

The OneSKY modernisation programme breaks new ground on many levels

Airservices Australia and the Department of Defence came together to procure the OneSKY Civil–Military Air Traffic Management System (CMATS) in February 2018, in partnership with French defence electronics specialist Thales. The AUD1.2 billion (USD0.9 billion) contract for Thales is estimated to save USD340 million compared with separate deals, with the introduction of a new concept of ‘shared airspace’ based on the TopSky-ATC automation platform.

Airservices predicts 60% traffic growth over the next 15 years – rising from 4 million aircraft movements to 4.6 million – much of it in the Brisbane–Melbourne–Sydney triangle. “We have two of the world’s top 10 busiest city pairs in Brisbane–Sydney and Melbourne–Sydney,” Airservices CEO Jason Harfield said in March 2018. “We also have significant air force bases that sit in the path – Williamtown and Amberley – which are due to gain Joint Strike Fighters.” He said the benefits to the aviation industry are calculated at AUD1.3billion, of which AUD750 million accrues from route optimisation alone.

Shared airspace will also benefit national security, Harfield added. “Having our military and civil controllers sit side by side offers more flexibility from a national contingency perspective.”

The contract brings many challenges, not least bringing together three separate entities. “We’ve not had anything like this before,” admitted Harfield. “We have the contract with Thales, and then we on-supply to defence. Airservices is delivering the defence portion. The contract milestone is very significant, with one final agreement. Achieving the systems requirements agreement in January allowed us to proceed.”

Harfield attributed numerous reasons to the three-year wait between downselecting Thales and awarding the contract, including the time needed to set up the governance structure.

See related article at: http://www.janesairport360.com/article/10083/thales-secures-onesky-contract

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