Challenges

  • Determine and map system requirements
  • Ensure consistency between the various systems and subsystems
  • Make sure the various components of the system work together without interfering
  • Use a central repository of system architecture models

Results

  • Full repository of system architecture models available
  • Quicker resolution of problems thanks to a collaborative working environment
  • Intranet site to access the architecture repository

The Single European Sky ATM Research Project (SESAR) is the technology pillar of the EU’s Single European Sky initiative to standardize air traffic management (ATM) across the region. SESAR aims to develop advanced technology that can boost operational efficiency, lower costs, and reduce the environmental impact per flight.

The Project has three phases: a definition phase to come up with an ATM master plan; a development phase to produce the new generation of ATM procedures and technological systems & components specified in the plan; and a deployment phase to manufacture and implement the new ATM systems.

The development phase is being carried out by SESAR Joint Undertaking, a pan-European public-private partnership financed in equal measure by the EU, EUROCONTROL, and other airline-industry members. 

What are the ATM system needs for the Single European Sky?

A EUROCONTROL study puts the estimated number of flights in Europe at 16.9 million/ year in 2030 – up from 10 million/ year today. So SESAR faces a major task in developing safe, reliable ATM systems that can scale up to meet the additional capacity. SESAR researchers are working on some 300 different projects to tackle key challenges such as developing integrated management systems for the different phases of a flight, so as to cut waiting times on the runway and in the air, and using satellite navigation systems to improve take-off and landing procedures.

The first step in developing a pan-European ATM system was determining the system requirements and mapping it out in detail. The system description needed to include all subsystems and recommended architecture so that engineers can make sure all components work together in a coherent way. Once the system’s various components are implemented, they must be able to operate together smoothly without interfering with each other.

How is MEGA HOPEX helping to develop such a complex system?

SESAR researchers are using MEGA HOPEX software for the model-based system engineering (MBSE) method to map out the desired ATM system. We installed MEGA’s architecture repository solution to make it easier to access, share, and maintain system architecture descriptions.

We are also leveraging MEGA consultants’ expertise in system modeling to:

  • Outline the architecture framework using a system- and capacity-based approach
  • Manage administration of the repository
  • Implement MEGA’s collaborative software solution

What benefits has MEGA’s solution delivered?

MEGA’s methods and enterprise architecture applications allow us to ensure coherency among the various system architectures and to better manage our reviews of SESAR developments.

MEGA’s solution employs the NATO Architecture Framework (NAF) – the modeling method we use for the Project. The researchers on our team who are not system architecture experts had a hard time grasping NAF because of its inherent complexity. But since MEGA’s applications let us use an object-oriented approach, we were able to easily train them and can now share information across the board.

We also appreciate the flexibility and collaborative working environment offered by MEGA’s solution. For instance, we can set different repository access settings for different kinds of users – especially important on this Project since only 10% of the team are system architects. The other 90% of users can view the repository and make comments, but can’t change any of the data.

The fact that we are working with researchers from so many fields also prompted us to develop a special intranet site to access the architecture repository. It provides a simplified view of the repository, making it easier for researchers to communicate and share information about a given architecture. That has allowed non-system architects to learn more about IT architecture and become increasingly involved in the modeling.

And finally, the collaborative working environment lets us detect problems quickly – sometimes even before they occur. That substantially reduces the amount of time we have to spend on system maintenance and repair, saving us money.

What are the next steps under SESAR?

We plan to get around 100 contributors to the repository up to speed on the working environment, so they can use the workflows in MEGA’s solution to easily review the information they contributed.

We also plan to make greater use of MEGA’s repository and associated applications, particularly to help us select the right deployment options by performing in-depth impact analyses and scenario evaluations.

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Challenges

  • Train 100 contributors to use the new repository
  • Conduct in-depth impact analyses and scenario assessments

Results

  • MEGA HOPEX NAF
  • MEGA HOPEX Platform
  • MEGA Services Teams

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