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Data link communication equipment approved by USAF for civil air traffic control

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1 Author(s)
Thornton, D.M. ; Rockwell Collins Inc., Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

Operations within civil airspace will transition from traditional ground-based air traffic control (ATC) to air traffic management (ATM), a concept that requires aircrews and ground managers to share responsibility of aircraft separation assurance. Increased levels of information exchange will be necessary for this concept to work safely; therefore, air-ground communications will transition from voice to data link communications. The nature of data link communications procurement requires that avionics suppliers not only verify their products meet contractual performance requirements, but also demonstrate that their products are compatible with civil communication networks and ATC. In addition, the USAF needs to demonstrate that their crew-training program is adequate to maintain the required level of aircrew proficiency and equipment can be maintained for the required level of system performance, integrity, and interoperability with the civil environment. This paper outlines some of the certification issues facing the USAF with respect to the "Approval for Use" of data link equipment to be used for communication with ATC. It will also suggest a methodology for the avionics supplier and USAF to obtain the approvals required to ensure the installation of data link communications equipment on military aircraft will remain interoperable with civil ATC.

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 11 )