SuRveillance Message Conversion and Distribution Equipment (RMCDE)

In the late 80’s EUROCONTROL together with Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany have started a project called “the Four States/EUROCONTROL Integration Project” aiming at a homogeneous environment for the ATC Services involved in order to expand the capacity of the air traffic control system in the Four States.

Within the framework of the aforementioned project it was decided to implement a Surveillance Data Network – RADNET (SURNET today). The RMCDE system that was going to be used as a node for RADNET was specified and was developed, following an international call for tender in 1988.

Functionality offered

The RMCDE can be used in a network environment or as a stand alone (surveillance data front-end processing and distribution) system.

When interconnected (either directly or over an underlying communication infrastructure) RMCDE systems are the nodes of an intelligent logical network for the distribution of surveillance data (sensor, track server and sensor monitoring/control data). Such a network allows the flexible usage of any available surveillance information by any of the ATC Units connected thereby improving coverage. Data filtering and flow control mechanisms allow to make optimum use of the communication resources by tailoring data streams to User requirements.

ASTERIX (All Purpose STructured Eurocontrol suRveillance Information eXchange), the European (and de facto worldwide) standard for surveillance data exchange, is used exclusively in the network environment, The RMCDE converts legacy formats into ASTERIX thus facilitating the creation of a harmonised environment. Since the first development the RMCDE system has been improved continuously (both software and hardware) in order to support new requirements and to keep the system abreast with the technical evolution of the ATM systems (support of Mode-S, ADS-B, Multilateration, exchange over IP, etc.).


The first RMCDE systems were used operationally in 1993. The concept proved to be so successful that today 99 systems are used by 20 civil and military ATS organisations in 16 States.


The RMCDE system, approaching its “end-of-life”, will be replaced by the SDDS (Surveillance Data Distribution System) which is planned for operational usage as of 2013.