UK-based air navigation service provider (ANSP) NATS has chosen German electronics company Rohde & Schwarz’s R&S VCS-4G IP-based voice communications system for its air traffic control (ATC) communications in the UK airspace.

Within the framework of the Single European Sky (SES) initiative, NATS aims to upgrade the UK’s entire air traffic management (ATM) infrastructure over the coming years.

NATS Supply Chain Management director Tim Bullock said: “NATS controls more than 2.4 million flights every year. Our systems must be both flexible and able to handle heavy workloads in order to ensure efficient operations for airlines and passengers alike.

“We have found in Rohde & Schwarz an innovative and reliable partner. We welcome them to the collaborative team of suppliers joining us on our ATM transformation journey towards SESAR deployment.”

"Our systems must be both flexible and able to handle heavy workloads in order to ensure efficient operations for airlines and passengers alike."

The current Rohde & Schwarz R&S VCS-4G, NATS’ second voice system, will be deployed by the company this year.

With the implementation of the new system, NATS will be able to offer enhanced voice-based radio communications in the UK's airspace.

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Rohde & Schwarz will carry out a phased installation of the new voice system across NATS ATC centres in Swanwick and Prestwick, as well as its corporate and technical facility in Whiteley.

With the phased deployment expected to be completed by 2020, Rohde & Schwarz will also provide delivery, implementation and through-life support for more than 450 R&S VCS-4G controller working positions (CWP).

Under the scope of the project, up to 1,700 radios and several ground-ground lines will be connected to the Rohde & Schwarz voice system.

The fully VoIP-based R&S VCS-4G system, which features a distributed, redundant architecture, offers flexible, load-based reallocation of resources while ensuring efficient, sustainable and safe ATC operations.