Automatic Tactical Controller Tool implementation


Jan. '19CompletedApr. '23

Implementing Partners

Leader: ENAV
Italian Air Force
Contributor: Italian Air Force


The Implementing Project is part of the Free Route Programme, which aims to achieve the objectives of AF 3 ""Flexible Airspace Management and Free Route"". This will allow airspace users to “freely” plan, inside Free Route areas, their flight plan using only the entry and exit points without following the published airways network.
This IP aims at implementing the automatic Tactical Controller Tool (aTCT) as an important integrated function in the ENAV ATM system. This system functionality is complementing IP #063AF3 ""ENAV implementation of Free Route"" (Action 2014-EU-TM-0136-M) and is to be considered an add-on to the improvements to Free Route brought by the IP 4Flight (2015_204_AF3_Phase_II - 4-Flight deployment in Italy 2019-2020), an additional feature not originally foreseen in that project.

The automatic TCT is allowing air traffic controllers to get promptly and automatically informed in the event of a potential conflict between two or more aircrafts with a prediction of about 15/20 minutes.

Specific objectives:
This IP specifically aims to:

  • Support the Air Traffic Control Operator in the management of the airspace.

  • Reduce the potential number of STCA (Short term conflict alerts) alerts and reduce the potential risk of separation minima infringement.

  • Implement the automatic Tactical Controller Tool over all Italian ACCs to help the Air Traffic Control Operator to detect potential conflicts in his/her assigned portion of airspace. In heavy traffic situation the Air Traffic Control Operator has little reaction time and requires tailored assistance. The main aim of automatic TCT is to give support to the Air Traffic Control Operators to improve safety and operational efficiency reducing ATCO workload.

  • Provide accurate support with the aTCT in the vertical and horizontal profiles. aTCT will not be solely dependent on efficient trajectory update (as is the case for MTCD (Medium term conflict detection) planning trajectory).

  • Be aware with the aTCT of the traffic situation in terms of aircraft observed behavior (surveillance) and forecasted behavior (planned trajectory).

  • Operate within the borders of the sector and will complement the planning controller’s MTCD tool.

  • Alert with the aTCT the controller about potential conflicts (separation minima infringements), that are likely to occur in the near term. In providing this advice the tool will consider both the planned trajectory and the aircraft’s current behavior.

  • Provide with the aTCT a separation assurance aid.

Expected Results:

  • aTCT is developed and delivered for the ENAV ATM System

  • A more adaptive approach is provided when compared to current operations which is mainly reactive ATC combined with a number of constraints, airspace organization and flow distribution.

  • The tactical controller workload is reduced highlighting all the elements to be taken into account in the solution of potential conflict.

Performance Benefits:

  • Safety: Early and systematic conflict detection and conformance monitoring enabled by ground based automated tools will reduce the need for tactical interventions. Conformance monitoring reduces the risk of the impact of controllers and pilots' errors. It furthermore ensures a high level of safety with an increase in capacity 3% due to a reduction of controller workload per aircraft.

  • Capacity/Environment: The tactical controller workload will be reduced, and a better sector team productivity achieved. Compared to the conventional systems without automated support, the sectors capacity will be increased."

Countries involved

Additional Information

  • Project Type: Air Navigation Service Provider
  • CEF Call Year: 2017
  • Civil/Military: Civil
  • Multistakeholder: Yes
  • Main AF: AF3 - Flexible ASM and Free Route
  • Sub AF: S-AF 3.2 Free Route
  • Progress Percentage: 100%