Surveillance Data Distribution System (SDDS)

Proving the benefits of a platform-based development for (surveillance) communication systems.

Without effective surveillance and communication, air traffic management (ATM) would not be possible at all. The functioning of the entire ATM network relies on the efficient exchange of data - surveillance data in particular - so as to provide the requisite capacity, safety and performance levels.

With this in mind, our Member States requested EUROCONTROL to develop the Surveillance Data Distribution System (SDDS), developed by the Network Management Directorate’s Surveillance Services.

Efficient exchange of surveillance data

Surveillance products are constantly evolving: they have to demonstrate innovation and adaptability while meeting the safety and quality requirements of operational systems.

When we were first discussing replacing the suRveillance Message Conversion and Distribution Equipment (RMCDE), we asked ourselves whether a value-added network node was still necessary, while introducing an IP-based network infrastructure.

Starting point of a platform-based architecture

It is a general misconception that an IP network infrastructure can cover all communication needs. But, just like the Internet, specific systems that handle content are still needed.

On the other hand, the common use of Internet Protocols makes for an open invitation to re-use components wherever possible. This is the starting point for a platform-based architecture.

With the platform-based architecture of the Surveillance Data Distribution System (SDDS), it is possible to re-use a significant portion of the implementation used for other types of message-based service networks (such as air-ground datalinks, meteorological data and even the AMHS - ATM Message Handling System). All that is needed is the development of a domain-specific plug-in.

Essential characteristics are cost efficiency through platform-based development, compatibility with international programmes through the use of standard protocols and agreed technologies with a strong focus on security aspects.

SDDS applications

Inter-centre distribution

SDDS was primarily developed for inter-centre communications. In each of the centres in a "network", an SDDS - or similar system - collects local surveillance data (from sensors or surveillance data processing systems) and distributes it to neighbouring centres.


Intra-centre distribution

Another application is the distribution of surveillance data within a centre. The filter and conversion capability allows data streams to be tailored for different user groups (Area Control, Approach and Tower, but also data processing systems with different needs).


International gateway

A more generic application would be as a general-purpose international gateway. The SDDS allows different protocol types to be connected. Its advanced security features ensure that data crossing borders is subject to high levels of control.


SDDS project status

  • The SDDS is currently in its initial stage of deployment.
    Working groups - such as the SDDR-G (Surveillance Data Distribution Requirements Group) and the SDD-UG (Surveillance Data Distribution Users Group) - meet regularly to advance this stage of deployment. This group reports to the SUR-T (Surveillance Team), which is subordinate to the CNS-T (Communication, Navigation and Surveillance Infrastructure Team).
  • The SDDS’s development under the auspices of the SDDR-G ensures that a high level of a priori acceptance is obtained.
  • The majority of the current RMCDE users have indicated that they will migrate to the SDDS.
  • The system was provisionally accepted in December 2013.

The end user should have availability in the second quarter of 2016.

Support and Maintenance by SIMOS

Support and maintenance is managed by the EUROCONTROL SDDS Implementation and Operational Support Team (SIMOS). The team is located at the EUROCONTROL Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre. SIMOS provides direct support to the users, such as SDDS-related incident and problem management, training and the further evolution of the SDDS. In turn, the EUROCONTROL team is supported by an industrial partner which is specifically responsible for documentation and software maintenance and the implementation of new functions.

SDDS team

Contact us for any questions regarding the Surveillance Data Distribution System (SDDS).