Thales has signed a framework agreement and development contract with the French Air Navigation Service Provider (DSNA) for the development of the 4-FLIGHT programme.

Under the ten year contract Thales and DSNA will operate a long term collaboration for the development of the next generation 4-FLIGHT Air Traffic Management system, its deployment in all DSNA en-route centres and major approaches by 2020 and its future technological evolutions.

The 4-FLIGHT programme, the future French ATM system, is based on the COFLIGHT Flight Data Processing system, which includes a new human-machine interface in an electronic and stripless environment, according to Thales.

Thales for Air Operations senior vice president Jean-Loic Galle said: "The 4-FLIGHT will allow us to propose solutions to our customers for progressive migration as part of our European product policy."

"Our ability to be technologically innovative will ensure the long-term success of the 4-FLIGHT programme and its compliance with the regulatory framework of the Single European Sky initiative," Galle added.

The new generation ATM system will allow DSNA to cater to the increasing volume of air traffic scheduled in the coming years.

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The French Air Navigation Service Provider (DSNA) director Maurice Georges said: "4-FLIGHT will support the free route and flexible use of airspace concepts, in particular for efficient operations."

As part of the contract, Thales will develop the first operational version of 4-FLIGHT (V-OPS) and its deployment in two en-route centres that include ACC Reims and ACC Aix-en-Provence by 2015.

It also includes operations evaluations of the new system to prepare its adaptation to the particular context of the Paris region.

In addition, the contract also includes the development of the target version of 4-FLIGHT (V-Target), its deployment in the five ACCs and major approaches – including those in the Paris area – and the evolution of these deployed systems.

The 4-FLIGHT, which is based on COFLIGHT, will enable DSNA to meet SESAR requirements and will be fully interoperable with other European ANSP ATM systems.