EUROCONTROL celebrates 20 years of civil-military coordination

4 May 2017

With the early implementation of the revised Convention in 1997, EUROCONTROL formally became a civil-military organisation for the safety of air navigation across Europe. It also became a unique platform for facilitating civil-military coordination and cooperation between our Member States and the air traffic management (ATM) community at large.

The driving force behind EUROCONTROL’s becoming a civil-military organisation was the understanding that ever-expanding civil aviation relies on thoroughly dependable civil-military coordination arrangements. These arrangements have to take cognisance of economic pressures and demands on civil airspace users as well as the necessity of accommodating military missions in Europe’s airspace.

The objective has always been to deliver an efficient, interoperable, secure and safe pan-European ATM network that is capable of enhancing airspace capacity, flight efficiency and military mission effectiveness. At the same time, ever-higher levels of safety and security have to be achieved and aviation’s environmental footprint reduced.

Numerous improvements – such as the Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA) concept, CNS (communications, navigation, surveillance) interoperability and infrastructure rationalisation initiatives as well as ATM security activities – have been made over the last two decades, benefiting both civil and military airspace users. Economic needs have been carefully balanced with essential national security and defence requirements.

EUROCONTROL has been a pioneer in promoting several innovative concepts, namely performance-based certification and dual-use CNS. These advances have the potential for reducing costs for the military when they have to adopt emerging civil ATM requirements, such as those resulting from SES/SESAR developments.

These improvements were made by EUROCONTROL in close collaboration with our Member States through our major consultation platforms – the Civil-Military Interface Standing Committee (CMIC) – now commemorating its 20th anniversary – and the Military ATM Board (MAB), established in 2007.

The Local And sub-Regional Airspace Management Support System (LARA) and the Pan-European Repository of Information Supporting Civil-Military Performance Monitoring (PRISMIL) are two major systems that are increasingly being deployed and maintained throughout Europe to support civil-military airspace management and its performance. Both civil-military coordination services celebrate their 10th anniversary this year.

A key development in civil-military coordination is the Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA) concept, which, in its present format, has already contributed to significant performance gains for the European ATM network.

The next step is the Advanced Flexible Use of Airspace (AFUA) concept. Building on greater civil-military collaborative decision-making (CDM) and enhanced data-sharing, AFUA will coordinate common airspace resources on a network level, through the proactive partnership of civil and military actors.

The technical enabler for this CDM process will be provided by the Central AFUA Service (CS4), its locally deployed airspace planning systems (e.g. LARA) and an ASM (airspace management) performance measurement to be delivered via PRISMIL.

In the area of CNS infrastructure modernisation, EUROCONTROL sees that the military requirements needed to underpin appropriate levels of interoperability are integrated. A “Roadmap on Enhanced Civil-Military CNS Interoperability and Technology Convergence” has been produced. Endorsed by the Military ATM Board, together with its related technical guidance, this Roadmap has been widely recognised as a basic reference for CNS today.

One the most important security activities was the establishment of the NATO-EUROCONTROL ATM Security Coordination Group (NEASCOG) in 2002, just half a year after the tragic events of 9/11. NEASCOG is now celebrating its 15th anniversary. It successfully delivered - and continues to deliver - widely acclaimed policies, procedural and technical documents and tools. NEASCOG identifies shortcomings and proposes viable improvements for all aspects of airspace and ATM security, including cyber security.

In the civil-military dimension, EUROCONTROL also cooperates with NATO, the European Defence Agency, the SESAR Joint Undertaking, the SESAR Deployment Manager and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

EUROCONTROL’s civil-military activities provide support to the Member States on all ATM and CNS domains related to the implementation of the Single European Sky and its potential impact on military aviation activities.

EUROCONTROL has been involved in SESAR research and development since the definition phase began in 2005. SESAR R&D can be considered as a best-practice for successful civil-military cooperation, ensuring that the military are involved from the outset in the formulation of new concepts and technical solutions to accommodate their needs. In particular, this has been done for the Master Plan and the Military Engagement Plan for SESAR (MEPS). Facilitated by EUROCONTROL, MEPS engages national military experts in SESAR activities. Results of this involvement include specific military avionics-related projects, conducted in partnership between EUROCONTROL and industry. These projects prove that modern military aircraft and systems can be interoperable with the SESAR environment in a cost-effective way.

To mark the 20th anniversary of this successful civil-military coordination, EUROCONTROL held an event on 3 May 2017 at its Headquarters in Brussels. Speakers at the event included Henrik Hololei, Director General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), Kirsten Ullbæk Selvig, Chairwoman of the Civil-Military Interface Standing Committee (CMIC), Gp Capt Rob Dargan, Vice Chairman of the Military ATM Board (MAB), and Frank Brenner, Director General of EUROCONTROL.

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