ATM surveillance tracker and server (ARTAS)

Air traffic management (ATM) needs reliable and accurate surveillance data. Loss of surveillance data in one part of the airspace can cause a major reduction in ATC capacity with a knock-on effect across the entire network. The optimum use of all available sensor data in an interoperable manner is therefore a key element for the overall ATM network performance.

ARTAS is the concept behind a Europe-wide distributed surveillance data processing system (SDPS) capable of processing all surveillance data reports (classical radar, Mode-S, WAM and ADS) in order to provide its users with the best estimate of the current air traffic situation. The high-performance surveillance data processing system:

  • addressing Europe’s existing tracker systems’ shortcomings
  • seamlessly integrating  Europe’s multi-centre operational environment

How does ARTAS work?

What differentiates ARTAS from any other tracker system is the overall concept of a distributed system, consisting of an assembly of identical units which can all coordinate together and act as one region-wide integrated surveillance system.

The various surveillance sensors are connected to a Regional Surveillance WAN (wide area network) and the units are also connected to this network. Each ARTAS unit processes surveillance data received on the network and acts as a server through the surveillance data distribution (SDD) systems, providing continuous aircraft radar data to the ATC units and other systems (e.g. terminal areas, military, flow management units, etc.) which are connected to the network.

The seamless integration of all units allows for the application of 5NM separation minima throughout the covered area, including during transfers of traffic from one ATC unit to the next. 3NM separation can also be applied following an in-depth operational evaluation of the ARTAS behaviour in local environments.

Type of data provided

In addition to the so-called “Track-State-vector elements”, that is position, speed, mode-of-flight, etc., which are maintained by the Tracker, the served tracks comprise other data of interest for the system users, including information relating to flight plans, provided by the flight data processing systems users of ARTAS, i.e. call sign, departure/arrival airports, type of aircraft, etc.

ARTAS features

ARTAS provides the best possible picture of the current air traffic situation with an outstanding level of accuracy and reliability. It is:

  • designed to serve a variety of purposes, disseminating relevant surveillance data to a wide range of system users
  • under constant evolution to meet the required performance levels
  • seamlessly integrating Europe’s multi-centre operational environment by addressing the shortcomings of the existing tracker systems
  • providing efficiency through the common development and provision of the software

Background

EUROCONTROL’s EATCHIP and EATMP programmes were the main drivers for the progressive integration of European surveillance data processing systems (SDPS) in the 1990s.

The main objective was to make use of advanced tracking technologies in order to integrate operations across Europe and eliminate the shortcomings of current tracking systems, providing as a result an efficient service to a large variety of users.

The phased development of an ARTAS prototype started in June 1993. The software was a proof-of-concept for the systems which are now operational in Europe. In parallel, a number of national ATM organisations began to work on a comprehensive evaluation programme of the successive versions of the ARTAS pilot system. ARTAS was then gradually introduced as part of the surveillance infrastructure at several European operational centres.

This implementation of a harmonised surveillance data processing system like ARTAS, together with the broad introduction of radar data networks and the improvements of radar sensors, created the necessary technical condition for improved ATM coordination and the uniform application of radar separation minima throughout a large part of Europe.

Over the last 20 years ARTAS has proved invaluable to the ATC surveillance chain, raising safety levels while still being cost-competitive, keeping in line with the SES Performance Scheme targets.

ARTAS Architecture

The ARTAS architecture consists of two machines and is based on software developed specifically for the purpose of the project - ARTAS Middleware (MW). The architecture is based on the so-called ARTAS unit - a system, consisting of software and hardware resources, designed to meet all the functional and performance requirements.

Software

The ARTAS software, comprising online and offline components, middleware and application software, represents a total of about 2.1 million lines of source code, written in Ada, C, Java, Python and shell scripts.

There are currently two different software versions of ARTAS, viz. V8A (end of Support in October 2016) and V8B. Each version is installed on two hardware platforms.

ARTAS has four groups of main functions (computer software configuration item, or CSCI):

TRACKER (TRK)

processes the sensor input data and maintain the latest air situation represented in the Track Data Base

SERVER (SRV)

carries out the Track and Sensor Information Services, i.e. the management of all requests from users and the transmission of the relevant sets of track/sensor data to these Users, and the so-called inter-ARTAS co-operation functions

ROUTER BRIDGE (RBR)

Handles the external interfaces to the normal users, the broadcast users, the adjacent ARTAS Units and the surveillance sensors. It also implements the Sensor Input Processing function

SYSTEM MANAGER (MMS)

carries out the functions related to the supervision and management of the ARTAS Unit

ARTAS features a set of on-line and off-line tools:

Online

A_COM

A set of Common Packages that define those functions/procedures used by more than a single CSCI.

BASIC SYSTEM

Many functionalities of ARTAS (e.g. most of users’ requests like start/stop node) are implemented in a great number of shell scripts.

SUPERVISION FACILITY (SUP)

Two ARTAS SNMP agents allow the remote supervision (i.e. via network SNMP request/traps) over all the ARTAS functionalities.

Offline

DAF CSCI

The purpose of this CSCI is to provide the data analysis facilities, in order to analyse a previous operational situation, to verify a posteriori the correct system operation, to assist in the system tuning and improvement.

SIM CSCI

Simulator functions are meant to simulate ARTAS USERS (basic Users and FPPS Users).

PATCH INSTALLER  TOOL

The Patch Installer tool is a set of Shell / Python scripts which installs/de-installs a patch (a solution for an ATR/ACP) in a common (i.e. a patch is installed in the same way in any ARTAS site) and safe (i.e. all prerequisites of the patch are verified before applying any change) way on any ARTAS system.

Hardware

With the ARTAS V8B Version, the ARTAS unit is hosted at one ARTAS station (AS). A dual ARTAS system consists of two identical computers and their associated peripherals. The internal LAN (Ethernet/Bonding) is part of the system. The TRK, SRV, RBR, MMS and REC CSCIs of each chain are executed on only one node.

Interface

In the latest ARTAS V8B release (as from ARTAS V8B3) the MMS CSCI integrates a modern, ergonomic and flexible user interface based on a client/server architecture, replacing other commercial off-the-shelf products related to the database (Ingres), and the graphic user interface (Ilog Wave).

Performances and optimised Tuning

The upcoming update to ARTAS V8B4 (planned to be released by Mid-2017) will make it possible to increase its nominal capacity from 48 sensors and 4,096 system tracks to 255 sensors and 32,000 system tracks (subject to validation). This update will also bring the possibility to customise and fine-tune the system behavior in each Terminal Maneuver (TMA), Inhibit Code Change (ICCA) and En-route areas.

Safety compliance

To meet high safety standards, ARTAS is developed in compliance with Software Assurance Level 3 (SWAL 3), DOD-STD-2167A, MIL-STD-498/ J-STD-016-1995. Recently, all the CAMOS-related activities have followed the SWAL3 processes.

Since 2012 EUROCONTROL has been issuing the EC Declaration of Suitability for Use (Article 5 and Annex III (3) of Regulation (EC) No 552/2004 (the interoperability Regulation) as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1070/2009) of ARTAS for all new ARTAS systems.

Support service

The Central ARTAS software Maintenance and Operational Support (CAMOS) service was created to support ARTAS pre-operational or operational versions.  CAMOS collects the ARTAS system data and parameters needed to ensure the exchanges of surveillance data between the States implementing ARTAS. In addition, it provides software enhancements to the commonly developed ARTAS system – a necessary evolution due to changes in the technical environment or common user needs.

To CAMOS

Governance

All changes in ARTAS are done under control of the ARTAS User Group (AUG). In the context of CAMOS, the EUROCONTROL Agency (ARTAS Service Manager) acts as AUG representative and provides directives to the service provider on behalf of the AUG.

The activities of maintenance and support are currently performed by the Agency where EUROCONTROL experts in conjunction with industrial partners ensure support to the operational ARTAS units as well as the Pilot Units.

Responsibilities

The EUROCONTROL CAMOS Team located at Brussels HQ:

  • Provides a Helpdesk service, answering questions raised by ARTAS users, normally ANSP representatives
  • Processes ARTAS Trouble Reports (ATRs) and ARTAS Change Proposals (ACPs), including reproducing ATRs on CAMOS reference platforms and discussing technical matters with users and subcontractors
  • Follows developments performed by subcontractors
  • Tests patches and new versions delivered by Industrial Partners
  • Publishes ARTAS documentation (One Sky Team) and delivers patches (FTP site)
  • Reviews technical documentation
  • Participates in factory acceptance tests
  • Distributes new ARTAS releases to ARTAS users

The LAMOS team is in charge of Local ARTAS Maintenance and Operational Support and therefore shares the ARTAS maintenance with the CAMOS Team at HQ. The LAMOS team is in charge of the day-to-day maintenance of the ARTAS systems. The following list describes some of the tasks of the LAMOS team:

  • Verifying system behaviour
  • Recording any anomalies
  • Collecting evidence related to anomalies
  • Reporting to CAMOS any troubles or anomalies at HQ
  • Deploying, testing and validating patches, updates or new releases of the ARTAS system in strict cooperation with the CAMOS team at HQ

The Industrial Partners involved in CAMOS activities perform the following tasks:

  • Software maintenance and development (incl. documentation and COTS software)
  • Compliance with Software Assurance Level 3
  • ARTAS software configuration and control management
  • Factory acceptance testing
  • Advice to the CAMOS Team, including enhancement proposals
  • Provision of training courses for maintenance and upgrade purposes.

ARTAS Service Manager

For further information on ARTAS and CAMOS and requests for access to related tools contact the service manager.