Terma’s Information Support System, ATC*ISS, for London Heathrow’s New Tower

When the new, 87m high control tower at London Heathrow becomes operational in 2006, it will be equipped with Terma’s information support system, ATC*ISS Tower.

The ATC*ISS system will replace the existing system in the current 50-year-old tower at London Heathrow, but the change-over will require little effort from the ATC controllers; ATC*ISS uses the same convenient HMI as the familiar system, and will therefore require little extra training before implementation.

Despite the scale of operations at London Heathrow, the world’s busiest international airport with 67 million passengers in 2005, the ATC controllers in the tower opposite the new Terminal 5 will benefit from software similar to that of many control centres around the world – only the data is presented in real-time, reflecting the need for high data update capacity as required by tower operations.

One of the salient features of ATC*ISS, as with all products by Terma, is the high ratio of COTS components. Compared to competitors, Terma is a dedicated user of COTS that warrants a high up-time, a low failure rate, modest maintenance costs, and overall systems reliability and safety. This was also appreciated by NATS as one crucial parameter in the decision-making process.

With a high proportion of verified and tested COTS components, ATC*ISS minimises any risk for malfunctions or problems in implementation and integration, which translates into safety and efficiency. The use of COTS also entails minimum lead-times from procurement to implementation.

ATC*ISS builds on an open, UNIX-based client / server system architecture, and is easily integrated with existing data sources and other systems, and with a user-friendly HMI the system is readily customised. This also reduces to a minimum the workload of the ATC controller who can then devote full attention to monitoring the traffic on the basis of a firm situational overview.

By taking all existing sources of data required by the air traffic controller for integrated presentation on his work station, ATC*ISS greatly reduces the need for equipment within the tower environment, also contributing to a calm and controlled atmosphere, and ensuring that only the latest valid data is presented to the controller.

Conceived in the early 90s, and having since been continuously updated and expanded, ATC*ISS is now in service with more than 1,000 daily users at both military and civilian airports in eight countries, having proved its value as a cost-efficient and safety-enhancing ATC tool.

At the ATC Maastricht 2005 exhibition, Terma received Jane’s Airport Review’s Industry Award for its information support system, ATC*ISS. The nominees were selected based on extensive research into their contributions toward safer skies and capacity enhancements within the airspace management industry.

In a recently updated version, ATC*ISS now displays air traffic load data from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, EUROCONTROL.

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