The integration of different service domains with very heterogeneous requirements through a cost-effective and flexible avionic architecture is thus one of the main challenges addressed by the EU research project SANDRA. In this light, the SANDRA communication system will represent a key enabler for the global provision of distributed services for Common Decision Making based on the System Wide Information Management concept, and for meeting the high market demand for broadband passenger and enhanced cabin communication services.
In addition, the growth in air transportation has provoked community concerns over aircraft noise, air quality and airspace congestion. In summary, with the tools and procedures in use today, the effective increase of air traffic will be fundamentally limited and it is already approaching its limits. Focusing on communications related aspects, the following high-level requirements can be identified, in order to allow future systems to be compatible with the expected air-traffic increase:
To cope with these issues, new communication concepts are being developed in SESAR and in the AOC/APC domains. They aim at the definition of an access to an open system. This result in a collection of communications technologies targeted at specific operational settings. This represents a considerable extra burden to be carried by the aircraft, should the new radio links be implemented in stand-alone equipments. Moreover, although it has been suggested that the new systems will eventually replace the legacy communications systems, the likelihood is that there will be a lengthy period where aircraft will be fitted with all of the systems for global interoperability. This is the forecast expressed by SESAR, and the additional airborne equipment required during this transition phase severely threatens the realization of the future communications vision. Hence, a different approach aiming at a broader level of integration is needed to achieve the required increase of capacity, safety, security and efficiency of air transportation operations while at the same time keeping complexity and cost of on-board networks and equipments within a sustainable level.
This is indeed the truly integrated modular approach for a global aeronautical network and communication architecture proposed by SANDRA.
The SANDRA concept consists of the integration of complex and disparate communication media into a lean and coherent architecture that:
The SANDRA validation activity will show the ability of the proposed integrated architecture to easily reconfigure and adapt for the flexible implementation of new communication services.
From 24-26th June 2013, flight trials have been completed at the German Aerospace Center to test a new SANDRA avionic communication system. It has been a “premiere”: for the first time the new datalink named AeroMACS devised by Action Plan 17 in conjunction with two legacy data links Inmarsat BGAN and VDL2, integrated on an IPv6 framework have been tested in real flight environment. Also seamless transmission of Air Traffic Services data took place on legacy links and on new IP based links by means of Mobile IP/SNDCF, which is an ICAO protocol originally designed for ground-ground networks. Please also see http://www.dlr.de/kn/de/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-2059/11370_read-37443/.
The SANDRA consortium is lead by Selex Elsag Spa, Italy and DLR is the second strongest partner within this consortium of 30 international partners. The project started in October 2009 and will last 4 years. First results are published in the free accessible book Future Aeronautical Communications. For more information, please visit: http://www.sandra.aero/
Selex Communications Spa (Project Coordinator); ITDeutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.; DESelex Elsag Spa (Project Coordinator); ITThales Alenia Space; FRThales Aerospace UK; UKThales Avionics; FRThales TRT - UK; UKAirtel ATN; IEAcreo; SEAlenia Aeronautica; ITAltys; FRBradford University; UKCyner; NLDassault Aviation; FRDeutsche Flugsicherung GmbH; DEEADS Innovation Works France; FRGatehouse; DKIMST GmbH; DEIntecs; ITINRIA; FRLionix BV; NLMonitorsoft; RUNLR; NLRadioLabs; IT
SITA; CHSlot Consulting; HUTriaGnoSys GmbH; DETURs; TRUniversity of Twente; NLUniversity of Pisa; ITParis Lodron Universität Salzburg; AT