Impact assessment of PCP IR AF1 on military operations

An Overarching Insight Information Paper 

This paper provides an initial quantitative impact assessment, aiming to:

  • identify which of the PCP airports have collocated military facilities with operational use of the airfield;
  • display the level of use of the PCP TMAs/airports by military aircraft and the available PBN on-board capabilities, in order to statistically evaluate the impact of the PCP Regulation AF1 on military operations;
  • support the identification of measures to enable military aircraft to access those TMAs/airports;

The European Commission adopted Regulation (EU) 716/2014, mandating the implementation of six air traffic management (ATM) functionalities (AF). This constitutes the first Common Project, referred to as the “Pilot Common Project” (PCP). The first ATM functionality advocates the extension of Arrival Management (AMAN) and Performance Based Navigation (PBN) implementation in high-density Terminal Manoeuvring Areas (TMAs).

These enhanced airspace structures call for high levels of navigation performance, which directly affect multiple aviation stakeholders, including military operators that need to carry out aerial operations within those TMAs and at airports. This paper highlights some aspects relevant to an initial impact assessment of the PCP Regulation AF1 on military operations conducted as General Air Traffic (GAT) within those airspace structures and at airports.

Military flights operating at the airports identified in the PCP Regulation are very often equipped with Area Navigation (RNAV) rather than with Required Navigation Performance (RNP) capabilities. That means that RNP implementation supporting arrival and departure procedures will impact on military operations. In terms of the RNP on Approach (RNP APCH) specification, a higher number of military flights evidence LNAV/VNAV1 capabilities instead of LPV2.

The impact of the PCP Regulation AF1 on military operations takes on particular importance when military transport-type aircraft flights transit through TMAs adjacent to the regulated airports.

A significant number of military aircraft operating as GAT are still non-compliant with the PBN specifications and functionalities envisaged in the PCP Regulation. There is a need to accommodate those military aircraft flying GAT to enable the sovereignty roles, including national security and defence missions that require unrestricted access to the airspace. This paper also emphasises the fact that military traffic levels and equipage status justify military authorities in considering adequate levels of PBN equipage (or systems reutilisation) to meet the PCP Regulatory requirements.

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Impact assessment of PCP IR AF1 on military operations