Rohde & Schwarz and Airways achieve key milestone on path to modernize New Zealand’s air traffic management infrastructure

Site acceptance testing for delivering communications systems to the Auckland and Christchurch ATC centers, has been successfully completed. This paves the way for Rohde & Schwarz Australia to deliver further upgrades to the New Zealand ATC system as part of subsequent stage work.

CERTIUM VCS-4G will revolutionise Airway’s flexibility to manage their operations in a single trusted environment.

CERTIUM VCS-4G will revolutionise Airway’s flexibility to manage their operations in a single trusted environment.

Picture above shows, from left to right: Martin Ripple, Head of ATC and Critical Infrastructure, Rohde & Schwarz Australia; John Holt, Director of Airways; Katie Wilkinson, General Manager Air Traffic Services at Airways; Marius Münstermann, Vice President ATC at Rohde & Schwarz; and Peter Janssen, Head of Air Domain, Rohde & Schwarz Australia.

Airways and New Zealand are now one step closer to enjoying the benefits of a modern air traffic control (ATC) communications system, thanks to the superb collaboration of both Rohde & Schwarz and Airways teams in delivering the first stage of the New Zealand Internet Protocol Voice Communication System (IP VCS) project.

“The completion of site acceptance testing (SAT) is great news for the New Zealand air traffic management (ATM) system as we begin to see the gradual return of international air travel to pre-pandemic levels,” Managing Director of Rohde & Schwarz Australia Gareth Evans said.

“The achievement is especially notable given the challenges posed by prolonged COVID lockdowns and international travel restrictions in Australia, New Zealand and across Europe,” he continues.

“Forced to work remotely across three time zones, the success of our teams really stands as a testament to the close working relationship Rohde & Schwarz Australia has developed with Airways.”

Airways Acting Chief Information Officer Geoff Peck added: “We have been impressed with the Rohde & Schwarz team’s efforts to work collaboratively with Airways and deliver a complex project in extraordinary times.

“Having a modern and flexible voice communications system is central to Airways’ program to upgrade our air traffic management infrastructure across New Zealand, providing even greater safety, efficiency and resiliency into the future.”

CERTIUM VCS-4G IP-based communications technology will significantly increase resilience of the network as Airways moves towards a new one centre, two location operational model across its Auckland and Christchurch locations.

“With its quad-redundant and distributed architecture, CERTIUM VCS-4G will revolutionise Airway’s flexibility to manage their operations in a single trusted environment,” Mr. Evans said.

“Demanding a tailored solution of approximately 1000 requirements – almost 200 needing software development – our integration scope comprises an interface to the new ATM system, new ATC radios, new ATC voice recorders, a nationwide enterprise network, and various ground-ground communication lines.”

Following stages of the IP voice communications system (VCS) project will see Rohde & Schwarz and Airways continue to work together to deliver Contingency Centers in both Auckland and Christchurch, as well as rolling out new systems to the 22 towers located across the New Zealand ATC network. The site acceptance testing milestone also marks the commencement of the IP VCS Support Contract, which will see Rohde & Schwarz Australia provide sustainment and maintenance services over the next 15 years.

Marius Münstermann, Vice President ATC at Rohde & Schwarz explained: “CERTIUM IP-based VCS is a flexible, cost-effective and innovative solution for all ATC voice communications needs, meeting established requirements for availability, reliability and safety: These attributes, coupled with the growing need for dynamic ATC scenarios with network-based sharing and distribution of operational resources across multiple locations make it a very attractive proposition for other air navigation service providers operating in the region and globally.”

Editor’s note:

Rohde & Schwarz has successfully delivered communications systems to over 200 airports and area control centres all over the world. The Airways IP VCS contract was signed on June 21, 2018 and the overall project includes the delivery, implementation and through-life support for over 200 controller working positions. The project is being managed, delivered and supported by Rohde & Schwarz Australia, leveraging the extensive CERTIUM VCS-4G product expertise of Rohde & Schwarz. CERTIUM VCS is the most widely deployed full IP VCS on the market.

Airways Corporation is the sole Air Traffic Service provider in New Zealand, operating two radar centres and 22 control towers across the country. Airways controls all domestic and international air traffic travelling within New Zealand’s Flight Information Region, which totals 30 million square kilometres – one of the largest areas of airspace in the world.