New Flight Control Centre Put into Operation in Moscow

On 10 October 2017 at 02.00 (Moscow time) a new Flight Control Centre of State ATM Corporation’s Moscow ATC Centre was put into operation.

On 10 October 2017 at 02.00 (Moscow time) a new Flight Control Centre of State ATM Corporation’s Moscow ATC Centre was put into operation. For the first time Russia has carried out such an ambitious and unique project. Transition to a new Russian – made ATM system is of strategic importance.

The new Flight Control Centre, equipped with Sintez-АР4 Automation ATM System will replace TERKAS Automation ATC system, which has been in operation since 1981. Nowadays TERKAS equipment does not fully meet modern requirements in terms of capacity, collaborative decision making, and efficient trajectories due to its depreciation and obsolescence.

The area of responsibility is more than 730 thousand km2 with 70 aerodromes, namely: 16 civil aerodromes, 48 aerodromes of state aviation and 6 aerodromes of experimental aviation. The airspace within consolidated Moscow ACC area of responsibility is half as much as the territory of several European states. 

Traffic volumes are comparable as well, i.e. the number of landings and take-offs at Moscow aerodromes is higher than in certain European states.

The decision to build and equip the new Flight Control Centre of Moscow ACC was made in accordance with the Governmental Decree of the Russian Federation dated 27 August 2007 № 1130-р.

All the works were performed by the general contractor JSC Concern VKO "Almaz-Antey" and subcontracting organization JSC "VNIIRA", NITA Company and LOTES TM LLC. The amount of budgetary and extra budgetary funds necessary for the creation and implementation of Sintez-АР4 Automation ATM System totaled more than 3.5 bln. rubles. 

The Automation ATM System comprises 10 complexes (subsystems), including automation facilities providing air traffic control, airspace management, data link, meteorological services, security, reference information provision, voice communication, technical command and control, time-standard system and full simulator.

It is worth noting that JSC Concern VKO "Almaz-Antey" took into account of all the requirements of the customer and developed a brandnew system. The testing was conducted during the period from 2012 to 2016 with the involvement of engineering staff and controllers from Moscow ATC Centre. Successful operational acceptance tests (end of 2016) made it possible to move to the new centre.

A lot of work had been done before the new Flight Control Centre was put into operation: equipment testing and adjustment, system and working positions testing as well as training, including simulation-based.

The study of equipment operating procedure was key priority for the engineering staff. The component base of the new ATM system, its diagnostics and maintenance significantly differs from TERKAS. The engineering personnel of Moscow ATC Centre completed individual training courses. In order to maintain practical skills, including preparation for autumn-winter air navigation season all the controllers received training on Sintez-АР4 Automation ATM System process equipment and simulators. They actively participated in numerous inspections and tests of new equipment, system functionality and interface as well as ergonomics and information display.

The main objective of implementing the new automated ATM system is to establish a system that is in line with the ICAO Concept of Operations and ensures the required level of flight safety, efficient economic performance for all airspace users at all flight stages, compliance with national security and environmental requirements. 

The Sintez AP4 automated ATM system processes information obtained from 21 radar sources (including adjacent centres), 13 automated dependent surveillance sources and 3 automatic radio direction finders. The number of automated transmitting and receiving centres is 25. The ground equipment of the Moscow TMA provides for RNAV-1 flights. The ground equipment of the area control centre (ACC) enables RNAV-5 flights.

The Sintez AP4 automated ATM system includes the following numbers of automated workstations:

• 31 airspace planning and air traffic flow management workstations;

• 72 aerodrome control centre workstations;

• 83 area control centre workstations;

• 2 local control unit workstations;

• 22 technical management and control facilities, data recording and test equipment workstations;

• 46 simulator workstations.

The state-of-the-art equipment that is now in place will allow enhancing traffic intensity in the Moscow area by increasing sector capacity through a higher degree of air traffic services automation and new technology.

The new automated ATM system has incorporated a number of capabilities:

– automated exchange of flight plan information with adjacent ATC centres;

– short-term and medium-term conflict detection with a forecast depth of up to 8 minutes and 8-20 minutes respectively;

– monitoring aids (MONA);

– сonflict resolution assistant (CORA);

– processing of Mode S radar information (aircraft flight parameters (speed, height) are indicated on the controller’s screen, allowing the controller to monitor the correctness of commands transmitted and received);

– departure and arrival flow management (AMAN/DMAN) will be available after control towers at Moscow airports have been equipped accordingly.

It is also worth mentioning that the airspace capacity of the current structure is close to its threshold values, and cannot be significantly increased due to the existing structural limitations.

The technical capabilities of the new control center, equipped with a cutting-edge automated ATM system, will allow the transition to the new Moscow area airspace structure.

The new structure will divide Moscow area airspace into 44 sectors (22 ACC sectors and 22 Moscow TMA sectors).

A staged upgrade of the Moscow area navigation infrastructure is in progress as part of the ‘Joint Russian ATM System Modernization (2009 – 2020)’ Federal Target Programme. 30 navigation aids (DME and VOR/DME) have been made operational so far.

The implementation of the new airspace structure, together with the development of aerodrome and ground infrastructure, will cater for such development prospects as:

- increasing airspace capacity;

- ensuring effective departure/arrival trajectories;

- reducing environmental impact;

- ensuring increase in air traffic volume at Moscow airports;

- reducing pilot and controller workload.

Consolidated area control centres in Khabarovsk, Samara, Magadan, Irkutsk, and Krasnoyarsk have already been made operational as part of the ‘Joint Russian ATM System Modernization (2009 – 2020)’ Federal Target Programme implemented by the State ATM Corporation and monitored by the Ministry of Transport and the Federal Air Transport Agency. Consolidated ACCs in Tyumen and Ekaterinburg will follow.