NATS chooses Harris Corp. VoIP communications to modernize U.K. air traffic management

March 8, 2016
WORLD ATM CONGRESS, MADRID, 8 March 2016. Officials at NATS, the United Kingdom’s (U.K.’s) air navigation service provider (ANSP), sought modern hardware and software to improve air traffic management (ATM) communications. They found their solution at Harris Corp. (NYSE:HRS), contracting the company to supply a next-generation, VoIP communications system to support the United Kingdom’s air traffic management (ATM) services.
WORLD ATM CONGRESS, MADRID, 8 March 2016. Officials at NATS, the United Kingdom’s (U.K.’s) air navigation service provider (ANSP), sought modern hardware and software to improve air traffic management (ATM) communications. They found their solution at Harris Corp. (NYSE:HRS), contracting the company to supply a next-generation, VoIP communications system to support the United Kingdom’s air traffic management (ATM) services.

Harris will provide NATS with its cloud-based Voice Communications System for the 21st Century (VCS21). The VCS21 system modernizes ATM programs by delivering net-centric voice communications that reduce dependency on traditional point-to-point communications, while supporting an efficient transition to IP-based communications. It will be installed at three facilities in the U.K., and will include more than 600 controller working positions that can access up to 2,000 radios across NATS control operations.

“This upgrade to our voice communications system is part of a wider piece of work that will see us transform how we manage air traffic in the U.K. over the next five years,” affirms NATS Chief Executive Officer Martin Rolfe. “It’s a hugely ambitious program that will offer major benefits for our airline and airport customers. As such we need trusted partners like Harris with a proven track record of delivery and we’re delighted to be working with them on such an integral project.”

"We were impressed by Harris because of their reputation for performance and capability coupled with their ability to work collaboratively alongside the rest of our supply chain," NATS Supply Chain Director Tim Bullock adds.

The VCS21 system will be part of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) project, a collaborative initiative to modernize European airspace and air traffic control. NATS plans to invest nearly $1 billion in new technologies over the next five years to enable SESAR and other future concepts. VCS21 is a major step in this program – providing important networked voice capabilities that are more resilient, more cost effective, and will enable dynamic rerouting of established flight sectors, more reliable contingency planning, and improved asset sharing that facilitates both flexible airspace use and future facility planning.

"With this award, the Harris VCS21 system is now supporting two of the world’s premier ANSPs – NATS and the FAA – that are at the forefront of modernizing ATM worldwide,” says Ed Sayadian, president, Harris Mission Networks. “VCS21 will be a key enabler of modernization and growth, offering features that support future air traffic operations and an architecture that ensures higher system reliability and availability.”

Harris Corporation is a technology company solving customers’ mission-critical challenges by providing solutions that connect, inform, and protect. Harris supports customers in more than 125 countries, has approximately $8 billion in annual revenue and 22,000 employees worldwide. The company is organized into four business segments: Communication Systems, Space and Intelligence Systems, Electronic Systems, and Critical Networks.

NATS provides air traffic navigation services to aircraft flying through UK controlled airspace and at numerous UK and international airports. NATS is a public private partnership between the Airline Group, which holds 42%, NATS staff who hold 5%, UK airport operator LHR Airports Limited with 4%, and the government which holds 49%, and a golden share.


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    About the Author

    Courtney E. Howard | Chief Editor, Intelligent Aerospace

    Courtney enjoys writing about all things high-tech in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Intelligent Aerospace and Military & Aerospace Electronics. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics and space geek. Connect with Courtney at [email protected], @coho on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and on Google+.

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