Cooperation, integration key to safe single airspace with civil and military aircraft, says Eurocontrol’s Director General

ATCA/CMAC, NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., 30 Sept. 2014. “Airspace should not be designated as either permanently civil or military but considered as a continuum in which all use requirements have to be accommodated to the greatest extent possible,” says Frank Brenner, director general of Eurocontrol, during the Air Traffic Control Association’s Civil/Military Aviation Conference (CMAC) in National Harbor, Md.

Cooperation, integration key to safe single airspace with civil and military aircraft, says Eurocontrol’s Director General
Cooperation, integration key to safe single airspace with civil and military aircraft, says Eurocontrol’s Director General

ATCA/CMAC, NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., 30 Sept. 2014. “Airspace should not be designated as either permanently civil or military but considered as a continuum in which all use requirements have to be accommodated to the greatest extent possible,” says Frank Brenner, director general of Eurocontrol, during the Air Traffic Control Association’s Civil/Military Aviation Conference (CMAC) in National Harbor, Md.

Brenner stresses the need for civil-military cooperation to address the struggle for fair access to airspace. “Flexible use of airspace springs to mind,” Brenner says.

Cooperation, integration key to safe single airspace with civil and military aircraft, says Eurocontrol’s Director GeneralCooperation, integration key to safe single airspace with civil and military aircraft, says Eurocontrol’s Director General

Eurocontrol officials are focused on managing complexity and enabling the flexible use of airspace (FUA).

“There is no such thing as civil or military airspace anymore,” Brenner adds. “We have a single airspace over Europe.”

Brenner described Eurocontrol’s Advanced Flexible Use of Airspace Service (AFUAS) concept of operations (CONOPS), and encourages everyone to download the CONOPS document from the Eurocontrol website and provide feedback by e-mail.

“The AFUA concept is a key part of a new centralized service we are putting in place,” Brenner says. It includes several integral elements; among them is a common reference database, common situational awareness, interoperable supporting systems, and proactive and harmonized CDM.

Europe’s Single European Sky (SES II: 2009) performance scheme includes:

  • Enforceable performance targets
  • Performance review body advising the European Commission

Brenner also stresses the need for performance-based certification. “It makes it more feasible for military users to use existing systems to interact with civilian air traffic control,” rather than needing to install additional hardware in the cockpit, he says.

Brenner recognizes the need for real-time, accurate, and reliable information flows. It is imperative, he says, that the way forward makes sense for all involved –a shared airspace.

“Expect more change to come,” Brenner adds. “We will see new developments, and new developments mean change.”

SESAR in Europe and NextGen in the U.S. support the global airspace management plan. Better civil and military cooperation is needed. “An increase in security is another factor,” Brenner explains. “As we become more data- and network-centric, we become more efficient; but, we also become potentially more vulnerable to attack.

“Security is our main challenge,” Brenner admits. “How do we protect our data and how can we rely on these systems?” To arrive at the answers to these critical questions, Eurocontrol officials are working closely with NATO and ICAO.

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