Today's Air Traffic Management (ATM) comprises self-contained information systems, coupled with aeronautical-unique communication protocols. These closed systems and protocols constrain information exchanges and the stakeholders (e.g., Air Traffic Control and Airline Operations) with which aircraft may communicate. System Wide Information Management (SWIM) is the information management backbone for collaborative decision-making processes that enable ATM operational improvements. The key value proposition of SWIM is to make the same ATM information available to and easy to use by all stakeholders.
In a strong collaboration with partners Airbus, Alenia and Thales, the SESAR team under Honeywell leadership from Brno, Czech Republic has developed and successfully demonstrated a prototype concept of Air/Ground SWIM platform.
The Air/Ground SWIM provides an integration element between aircraft and ground-based stakeholders. It delivers ground-sourced information to the aircraft and aircraft-sourced information to ground systems and other aircraft. For physical data transmission it leverages available Internet Protocol (IP) based air-ground data links, such as Gatelink and commercial broadband networks deployed for passenger and airline communication use.
Initial Air/Ground SWIM supports aeronautical, meteorological and airline operational services used for strategic planning and decision making, but it may evolve over time to use aero-certified IP-based data links (e.g. AeroMACS, Iris, LDACS) and support services of a more tactical nature. The Aeronautical Mobile Aircraft Communication System (AeroMACS), the European Space Agency (ESA) Iris Programme as well as the L-band Digital Aeronautical Communication System (LDACS) are however not yet deployed and thus cannot be used for the initial Air/Ground SWIM.
The recent public demonstration in Madrid, which involved 10 different ATM organisations , including Honeywell Aerospace, followed the successful demonstration of the concept and prototype in November 2012 at the Eurocontrol Experimental Centre in Bretigny. During the demonstration the Air/Ground SWIM system integrated information from 4 different sources: Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) in France, VAAC in UK, NOTAM Office, and even from other aircraft. Data from these sources were transmitted over a single TCP/IP connection and then distributed to the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) and other (simulated) avionics.
By clearly highlighting the benefits of SWIM and how its maturing prototypes are closer to deployment in the near future, these demonstrations have confirmed that SESAR is bringing tangible, deployable solutions to the ATM world.