Singapore Moves Forward with Space-Based VHF Air Traffic Management
Tuesday, February 06, 2018 | Comments

GomSpace, together with The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Singapore Technologies Electronics (ST Electronics), signed a research collaboration agreement to conduct a design study on the implementation of space-based VHF communications for air traffic management (ATM) in the Singapore Flight Information Region (FIR).

The agreement follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by the three parties last year to explore the application and deployment of the space-based system.

The space-based VHF communications system involves mounting VHF communications equipment onto a constellation of small low-earth-orbit satellites to enable clear and real-time communications between air traffic controllers and pilots over oceanic airspace. This technology will improve safety and facilitate the safe reduction in separation between aircraft, from the current 80 nautical miles (NM) to potentially 5 NM, in airspace where ground-based VHF communications is not available, increasing ATM capacity and enabling more efficient use of airspace, a statement said.

The implementation of space-based VHF communications in the Singapore FIR will entail a design study phase, a proof-of-concept phase and an operationalization phase. With the collective expertise of CAAS, ST Electronics and GomSpace, the design study is expected to deliver solutions to overcome implementation challenges identified during the preliminary analyses, by defining baseline requirements, developing conceptual designs and conducting simulations.

"We are encouraged by this next milestone toward implementing space-based VHF communications for ATM, which will be a world first, and pave the way for more ground-breaking solutions to safely support the growing air traffic in the region," said Soh Poh Theen, deputy director-general (air navigation services), CAAS.

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