10-year old LARA is transforming civil-military coordination
The Local and sub-Regional Airspace (LARA) is ten years old. A system for collaborative decision-making designed to support and enhance the flexible use of airspace (FUA), LARA provides a user-friendly interface for online airspace management (ASM). It underpins transparent coordination in all phases of ASM and maximises task automation. By giving stakeholders easy and instant access to airspace status information, LARA helps heighten situational awareness and so improves flight safety.
The lead-up to LARA
Ten years ago, on 6 February 2007, a kick-off meeting with civil and military stakeholders was held at EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) to validate a concept and define specifications for a local ASM support system.
In January 2008, a demonstrator was successfully presented to stakeholders at a trial showcasing air traffic flow and capacity management (ASM/ATFCM) improvement initiatives. The demonstration’s positive outcome led to a firm decision to develop and deploy a Local And sub-Regional ASM support system.
A prototype was released early in September 2009; this was followed by a first operational version in mid-2010.
LARA was based on best practices, developed in line with the European Commission’s FUA regulation and geared up for the implementation of Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs).
Over the years, the LARA system matured from a prototype to an operational system, aligned with users’ requirements. This is because LARA was developed and perfected by users in the LARA Users Group.
LARA is leading the way to a more dynamic and flexible airspace allocation across Europe. It guarantees greater transparency by sharing data for the benefit of civil and military airspace users, an aspect central to improving ATM performance.
New areas for enhancement and cooperation at local and sub-regional levels have been identified over the years, including new interoperability requirements - such as interfacing with ATC systems, military mission planning systems and the Network Manager system.
The number of States using the system is growing rapidly – up from six at the start of 2015 to potentially 26 by the end of 2017: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, the United Kingdom, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.
The LARA Team:
- supports the deployment of LARA;
- helps with planning and implementation;
- provides training for operational use;
- gives overall maintenance support.
EUROCONTROL’s LARA Team supports States in the deployment of advanced flexible use of airspace (AFUA) and Free Route Airspace (FRA). LARA has grown to be a major enabler for the Single European Sky in the civil-military coordination sphere.
LARA beyond Europe
LARA is helping EUROCONTROL to actively promote the FUA and the benefits of efficient civil-military coordination beyond Europe. In this respect, we signed an agreement with ICAO in 2016. We agreed to make a LARA demonstrator available to ICAO Regional Offices around the world, so that the benefits of FUA can be better understood and potentially deployed on a global basis.
In December 2016, a team from EUROCONTROL presented LARA to ICAO personnel in the ICAO Asia and Pacific (APAC) Regional Sub-Office (RSO) in Beijing. ICAO staff was trained so that they could present a LARA demonstrator to interested States in the APAC region.
The LARA Programme is managed by EUROCONTROL and governed by a LARA Steering Group, supported by the LARA Users Group. The LARA software is developed by the UK-based company GRAFFICA Ltd., under the supervision of EUROCONTROL’s Civil-Military ATM Coordination Division.