Harris Corporation has been appointed by NATS to supply its latest voice over internet protocol (VoIP) communications system to facilitate the UK’s air traffic management (ATM) services.

The UK-based air navigation service provider (ANSP) selected Harris after an intensive review of the company.

Under the deal, the company will deliver its cloud-based voice communications system for the 21st Century (VCS21) to NATS.

The VCS21 technology facilitates net-centric voice communications that help upgrade ATM programmes.

"It’s a hugely ambitious programme that will offer major benefits for our airline and airport customers."

Internet-based voice communications support a smooth transition to IP-based communications, while eliminating dependency on the old point-to-point communication system.

The new VCS21 system will be deployed at three facilities in the UK, covering over 600 controller working positions that can communicate with up to 2,000 radios across NATS control operations.

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NATS CEO Martin Rolfe said: "This upgrade to our voice communications system is part of a wider piece of work that will see us transform how we manage air traffic in the UK over the next five years.

"It’s a hugely ambitious programme that will offer major benefits for our airline and airport customers."

The next-generation technology will be part of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) project that aims to upgrade European airspace and air traffic control.

VCS21 facilitates networked voice communications with enhanced flexibility at a reduced cost.

The system allows dynamic rerouting of established flight sectors and enhanced asset sharing to improve airspace use and facility planning.

Harris Mission Networks president Ed Sayadian said: "With this award, the Harris VCS21 system is now supporting two of the world’s premier ANSPs, NATS and the FAA, that are at the forefront of modernising ATM worldwide.

"VCS21 will be a key enabler of modernisation and growth, offering features that support future air traffic operations and an architecture that ensures higher system reliability and availability."