Rohde & Schwarz voice over IP communications systems for ATC now in operation at three HIAL airports

Posted on: June 21, 2016

The R&S VCS-4G system has been designed to meet next generation ATC requirements

A first for the UK – Rohde & Schwarz has successfully installed and commissioned three fully IP-based R&S VCS-4G voice communications systems for Highlands & Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) at Stornoway, Benbecula and Wick Airports. All three systems support the provision of a combined aerodrome and procedural service.

The volume of air traffic at HIAL’s airports has gradually increased over recent years and the airports have become increasingly important to the economy of the highland and island region. In order to maintain its high standard of air traffic service provision, HIAL decided to replace the legacy voice communications systems (VCS) at Stornoway, Benbecula and Wick Airports. HIAL was looking to purchase new state-of-the-art digital VCSs that could successfully interface with the airports’ existing communications infrastructures and provide the airports with a future-ready and cost-effective solution.

Following a competitive tender process, Rohde & Schwarz UK was awarded the contract to supply the three new all IP VCSs. The Rohde & Schwarz engineering team, with the assistance of the HIAL project team, has now successfully implemented this cost-effective solution to HIAL’s challenging technical and operational requirements. The system is the first of its kind in the UK and has been installed at all three airports.

Robin MacRae, Head of Operations at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, commented that Rohde & Schwarz has successfully completed a challenging project at three airports that meets HIAL’s technical and operational requirements. The fact that the standard R&S VCS-4G system uses an open architecture and standard interfaces allows HIAL to easily integrate future data applications, making the system viable for years to come.

Voice over IP in line with EUROCAE ED-137B standards has now established itself as the communications technology of choice for progressive air navigation service providers (ANSP). The R&S VCS-4G uses a redundant design that is able to interface with legacy equipment such as voice recorders, analog radios and telephone lines. This allows ANSPs to transition to fully integrated IP-based voice distribution systems over a period of time, which has operational and financial benefits.

Due to its unique architecture, the system is highly scalable and can be easily expanded without replacing existing equipment. The R&S VCS-4G system has been designed to meet next generation ATC requirements such as asset sharing, facility consolidation, geographical distribution and remote tower technology, providing ANSPs with an effective solution for present and future safety and efficiency objectives in global aviation.