Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on CCAMS

How can a CCAMS State get additional codes for special events (MIL exercises, sports events etc.) and would that be possible for eORCAM States as well?

CCAMS States can request in advance the provision of a certain amount of SSR codes for special purposes and a limited period. These codes will be blocked, for the duration of the event, in the CCAMS Central Server.

For eORCAM States, due to the non-centralized approach, this is unfortunately not possible.

How certain is the current commitment to CCAMS implementation?
  1. PC/31 confirmed in May 2009 the proposal of the Air Navigation Services Board to ensure the future of unambiguous and continuous individual aircraft identification by a short term implementation of CCAMS and eORCAM and a long term establishment of downlinked aircraft ID within the ICAO EUR Region.
  2. EUROCONTROL has re-launched all activities concerning the implementation of CCAMS.
  3. The CCAMS Central Server has been developed and will be ready for testing with local systems in April 2010.
  4. A CANSO questionnaire resulted in 16 out of 20 possible CCAMS clients confirming their commitment to CCAMS, including:
    a. United Kingdom (fully committed and supporting CCAMS)
    b. COOPANS States Austria, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden (CCAMS specified for release in 2012)
    c. Ukraine, Romania, Turkey are finalizing contracts for system upgrades
    d. At least 8 other ANSPs/States have started planning for CCAMS
How will CCAMS be more efficient than today’s code management?

Today, e.g. X States have X different code pools. These pools are static, so even if there is a need for more codes in State A and an excess of codes in the neighboring State B, State A can not benefit from this excess as there is no functionality to allow temporary transfers or real-time sharing of SSR codes between states.

Furthermore, the ORCAM structure and methodology limits the use of certain codes in certain areas because in most cases, codes for international flights are assigned omni-directional and might appear anywhere in Europe.

Using available flight plan data, the CCAMS Central Server can assign the same code to multiple flights without creating code conflicts.

CCAMS is a system which will solve the problems of ORCAM by:

  • Assigning codes centrally. Codes which are not needed in one unit are available for other units. Today this is not the case and this will increase the efficiency tremendously;
  • Assigning codes intelligently at the same time to multiple flights on conflict free trajectories, even within the same ORCAM participating area, where this is not the case today. A flight from Ireland to Sweden can be assigned the same code as a flight from Greece to Germany and a flight from Ukraine to China. Thus, CCAMS will assign the same code dynamically as often as possible within the CCAMS area without causing code conflicts and without being limited by the PA structure;
  • Assigning codes conflict free without code changes. Today, in some cases where codes are not changed when transiting from one PA to another, code conflicts occur resulting in loss of identification. Also, code changes are increasing the workload for pilots and controllers. CCAMS will ensure that SSR codes are assigned conflict free and that code changes are kept to a minimum (no code changes at all within the CCAMS area).
If we implement CCAMS, do we have to expect additional code changes?

States completely within the CCAMS area will not have any code changes. This will be ensured by the CCAMS Central Server algorithm.

For States with a border to a non-CCAMS State where this border today is a PA boundary, CCAMS will check the possibility to retain the SSR code and less code changes will be required than today.
For States with a border to a non-CCAMS State where this border today is NOT a PA boundary, it is expected that most SSR codes will be retained. However, it is possible that some code changes will be required.

Is it a choice between CCAMS and Mode S ELS?

No, the choice is between CCAMS and eORCAM. Mode S is a surveillance technology and the ELS application will require sophisticated Mode 3/A code support for many years.

Two out of four neighboring States will implement CCAMS, the others Mode S ELS or eORCAM. Will we still be able to implement CCAMS or is this a problem?

CCAMS can be implemented without problem in any State, independent of the environment. In theory, CCAMS can be used for SSR code management by a single state. However, the benefit of centralization would not be achieved in this case.

Therefore it is recommended to have at least one neighboring CCAMS State in order to achieve reasonable benefits.

What is CCAMS?

CCAMS is a technology.

The Centralised Code Assignment and Management System will use available flight plan data to assign SSR codes at the time they are actually required with an intelligent algorithm to flights rather than using today’s inflexible and static code allocation to States.

These two capabilities, dynamic code assignment and intelligent multiple assignment are the two cornerstones of CCAMS’ efficient SSR code management.

In short, CCAMS consists of the CCAMS Central Server (CCS), a communication network (AFTN) and several national ATS systems. The CCS will retrieve flight plan information for a flight from CFMU data, calculate an optimized and conflict free SSR code for the route and assign this code to the national ATS system, either automatically or on request.

CCAMS Structure

What is eORCAM?

eORCAM is a technology. eORCAM stands for enhanced technology for the use of ORCAM. It is a collection of ATS system capabilities which altogether allow a more efficient use of SSR codes in today’s ORCAM environment. eORCAM currently consists of high-level functional requirements such as;

  • Multiple simultaneous assignments of the same code
  • Geographical correlation on the track
  • Code reporting
  • Directional assignment
  • Retention checking
What is the problem with ORCAM?

In the past, all codes were allocated European-wide only once. Eventually, due to the increase of traffic the demand for SSR codes could not be satisfied anymore. As a solution, the ORCAM Participating Areas (PAs) were created (see map below) in the 1980’s. In principle, all codes can be used in any of the shown PAs, provided that the code is changed if an aircraft proceeds from one PA into another to ensure a unique code at all times. That means that instead of having 4096 codes available for Europe, we now have in theory 4096 x 5 Pas (without Russia) = 20480 codes available.

This is where we are today, using ORCAM as the basic method for code management with more than 38.000 codes in more than 850 allocations. Part B of the Code Allocation List (CAL) shows the exact allocation of the codes throughout the ORCAM States.

Unfortunately, even this PA structure fails to provide sufficient SSR codes for today’s demand due to further increase of traffic but also the change of major traffic flows (Eastern Europe). Also, the current structure has difficulties coping with FABs and direct routes. As a result, alternative solutions like CCAMS and eORCAM were investigated.

ORCAM Participating Areas

Why do we have to take action?

Increasing problems with the management and availability of Mode 3/A SSR codes have led to wide based acknowledgement of a structural problem and of the need to take action. This has been accepted by ICAO EANPG, EUROCONTROL Provisional Council and ANSB as well as the European Commission and airspace users. Therefore, a process was launched to set-up a programme in order to ensure unambiguous and continuous individual aircraft identification within the ICAO EUR region by 09 February 2012, backed up by European regulatory framework and based on Mode S ELS, CCAMS and eORCAM.

Why eORCAM if CCAMS provides more benefits for a lower price?

Some ANSPs did not like the idea of a centralized SSR code management and preferred an independent solution which would allow them more flexibility. As a result of this need, eORCAM was developed with the goal to achieve a similar efficiency as CCAMS in order to provide a significant relief to the ORCAM problems. So basically eORCAM is a non-centralized alternative to CCAMS.