SDDS: a versatile, high performance communications gateway

The EUROCONTROL Surveillance Data Distribution System (SDDS) is a versatile, high-performance communications gateway that provides a number of value-added services for the safe and secure distribution of all kinds of EUROCONTROL’s All purpose Structured suRveillance Information eXchange format (ASTERIX).

Developed as the successor of RMCDE, the highly successful EUROCONTROL suRveillance Message Conversion and Distribution Equipment, SDDS has become the reference implementation for surveillance data distribution, with its requirements developed by the Surveillance Data Distribution Requirements Group. This group consists of surveillance data experts from air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and the industry, and has already been operational for more than 25 years.

The EUROCONTROL SDDS is built on xDDS, a generic communications platform that supports the development of further surveillance and non-surveillance plug-ins.

A key strength of -SDDS is that it is one of the first systems in ATM to be developed with a strong emphasis on (cyber)security aspects. It has the same characteristics as the NATO information exchange gateway reference architecture. This is an important feature in an age when cybersecurity matters are becoming increasingly important: ANSPs recognise that communications gateways with a strong security focus are an essential element in any ATC centre’s “Defence in Depth” strategy.

The EUROCONTROL-SDDS project is picking up speed and has successful operational installations in Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, both in civil as well as military organisations.

EUROCONTROL expects that in addition to the majority of current RMCDE users planning to migrate to the EUROCONTROL SDDS, there will in addition be many new users that had not been using RMCDE in the past, attracted by the low cost of ownership of the new SDDS solution.

EUROCONTROL is committed to SDDS and its further evolution, with Joe Sultana, Director UROCONTROL Network Management, emphasising that “The SDDS is, together with ARTAS and SASS-C, one of the three cornerstones in the EUROCONTROL surveillance services. Recognising the importance of a secure and efficient exchange of surveillance data between ANSPs across Europe, EUROCONTROL is committed to support the deployment and long-term maintenance of the SDDS in its Member States, and potentially beyond.

For Joe Sultana, SDDS “is an excellent example of the close cooperation between EUROCONTROL and future SDDS users, leading to a very cost efficient development of a state-of-the-art component in the ATM surveillance chain.”