Credit: Airservices Australia

Credit: Airservices Australia

Australia launches world’s first OneSKY system to harmonise civil and military air traffic management

On Feb 26, it was announced that Airservices Australia, in partnership with the Department of Defence, has entered into an agreement with Thales Australia to integrate the country’s civil and military air traffic management systems.

Currently, Airservices Australia is using the Australian Advanced Air Traffic Control System (TAAATS) for its air traffic management system, while the Australian military is using a military air traffic control system called ADATS.

While both TAAATS and ADATS have been the backbone technologies for civil and military air traffic management in Australia, the two systems are aging and unable to match the capability of new air traffic management solutions.

As such, Australia is introducing the country’s first harmonised civil and military air traffic management system (CMATS) through the OneSKY system.

According the press statement released by the Department of Defence, this collaboration is the world’s first and the pioneering OneSKY program using the world’s most advanced air traffic management system technology will further earmark Australia as a global aviation leader.

Airservices Australia CEO Jason Harfield commented that the collaboration is “probably the biggest development in the safe management of Australia’s skies since aviation began in this nation”.

With the annual Asia-Pacific air traffic growth rate predicted to be the second-highest in the world at 4.7%, and significant development at major airports in Australia over the next decade, the role of air traffic control is more critical than ever.

“The $1.2 billion OneSKY project will transform Australia’s air traffic management system and national infrastructure in the sky, ensuring the travelling public arrive at their destination safely and with minimal delays,” said Minister Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP.

The integrated system will manage more than 11% of global airspace and some of the world’s busiest air routes. Under OneSKY, Australia will be better able to handle forecast air traffic growth which will reduce congestion and open up more efficient air routes to reduce flight times, fuel costs and greenhouse emissions.

It will be achieved through a system known as CMATS – the Civil Military Air Traffic Control System. The new system will see air traffic controllers use advanced technology and real-time traffic prediction tools, as they guide aircraft and the flying public safely to their destinations.

Substantial progress towards the delivery of CMATS under advanced work orders, has already been made with a view to delivering the enhanced safety and economic benefits to the aviation industry as soon as possible.

According to the press release by Airservices Australia, a new Voice Communication System will be commissioned later this year. The installation of the first phase of such system took place last year and the system requirement review was completed in January this year.

Minister for Defence Marise Payne also echoed that OneSKY’s leading edge technology meant Australia would have the most secure and resilient air traffic network in the world.

“This project will replace the ageing military air traffic management systems and is essential to ensuring our ADF can continue to operate safely in Australia’s airspace,” Minister for Defence Marise Payne said.

According to Minister Pyne, the OneSKY project will support 450 specialist high-tech jobs in Melbourne, building Australian skills in complex project management, systems engineering and software development.

“Around 75% of the acquisition cost and 95% of the ongoing annual support costs will be to Australian companies,” she added.

OneSKY is a significant program that focuses on aligning the needs of civil and military aviation. Once implemented, Airservices Australia and Defence will share technology and information, giving Australia the most advanced and integrated air traffic control system in the world. It will manage forecasted growth of air traffic movement in Australia, by as much as 60% by 2030, minimising delays for the travelling public.

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