ICNS 2018: a successful conference

Diverse plenaries with European representation and a rich technical programme.

In his opening keynote address at this year’s Integrated Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (ICNS) Conference, Philippe Merlo - EUROCONTROL’s Director ATM - set the scene highlighting the fact that today CNS stands at an exciting crossroads.

"I have spent my working life in air traffic management and as far back as I can remember – I have been waiting for a CNS breakthrough – for something amazing that changes CNS dramatically, comparable to the revolution that has happened in the internet, or in mobile telecommunications. […] If we know how to play it right, a CNS breakthrough is within our reach in the not so distant future. For that, we have to work together, Asia, America and Europe united. Ultimately, it is up to us to make it happen."

Very significant progress has been achieved in CNS in recent years, with an impressive list of new CNS satellite systems covering all three CNS components. Here, as Philippe underlined, "the most promising probably is space ADS-B, which is a potential game-changer". Strong challenges still persist and slow down the implementation of new CNS systems, particularly the acute difficulty with aircraft equipment, but the combined impacts of regulatory mandates, State incentives, and perseverance on a global ICAO CNS strategy, may see the situation evolve quickly in the coming years.

Philippe Merlo emphasised that "many new opportunities arise such as those linked to the new CNS satellites, to the development of commercial aviation communication services, to promotion of new entrants in controlled airspace, and to the growing pressure on the aviation spectrumAll this creates a new CNS environment, one that again makes progress possible if we know how to make the most of it.  For that, we need a new CNS strategy, a strategy able to factor in the new opportunities.  We need a new integrated CNS strategy. This is a proposal that Europe and EUROCONTROL intend to promote at the next ICAO Air Navigation Conference."

Background information

ICNS 2018, which gathered more than 190 participants from government agencies, industry as well as research and academic institutions across the world at Herndon, Virginia, on 10-12 April 2018, is a key annual event addressing CNS-related policy and R&D activities as well as the strategy and implementation of integrated CNS technologies. It is a non-for-profit event organised under the auspices of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a "must attend" for anyone working in the CNS field.

Over three days, the conference is divided between plenary sessions in the mornings providing an overview of strategies and policies, and parallel sessions on specific technical themes in the afternoons.

EUROCONTROL, as in previous years together with the SJU, coordinated the European participation on the plenary sessions. In ICNS2018, EUROCONTROL had the honour of delivering the Conference keynote and together with our European partners of promoting in the plenary sessions the European positions and views. Europe provided speakers to all four plenaries and (co-)chaired three of them, in addition to providing a solid representation in the technical papers.

One of the conference plenary highlights was the recently established, "ICNS Champion Award", which aims to recognise specific individuals with significant contribution to the CNS field and/or the ICNS conference. For 2018, the ICNS Champion Award was jointly presented to Michael Standar from the SJU and Steve Bradford from the FAA recognising their individual contributions in establishing a harmonised CNS vision as well as highlighting the importance of working together in the international arena.

  • The day 1 plenary focused on Global Harmonisation and was co-chaired by Michael Standar (SJU) and Steve Bradford (FAA).
  • The day 2 plenary focused on the Airport and Airline expectations from CNS and was chaired by Bernd Korn (DLR).
  • In day 3 there were two plenary sessions. The first one focused on the Pros and Cons of Outsourcing and was chaired by Steve Bradford (FAA).
  • The second plenary of day 3, focused on UAS and CNS opportunities and was co-chaired by Paul Bosman (EUROCONTROL) and Randy Willis (FAA).

This year Nikos Fistas (EUROCONTROL) and Michael Schnell (DLR) were responsible for the conference technical programme.

ICNS2018 saw almost a 100 technical papers and presentations distributed in five thematic tracks covering: cyber-security, UAS and new entrants, ATM, CNS and special topics.

Next year’s ICNS will again be held in Herndon Virginia on 9-11 April 2019.