A military perspective on data link services

Commission Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 of 16 January 2009 lays down requirements on data link services for the single European sky (SES). Articles 3 and 8 of the Regulation contain provisions which affect State aircraft. The Regulation promotes the forward-fitting of transport-type State aircraft with the appropriate equipment where the military decide to equip aircraft with the civil data link capability. 

Details on the applicability of the Regulation to State aircraft can be found in the CMAC CNS factsheet (see “Related links” section on the right).

Owing to technical problems encountered during the implementation phase on the ground and in the air (e.g. “Provider Abort - PA”), Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 was updated by an amendment published in Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/310/ of 26 February 2015. The main element of the amendment is that the dates contained in the original Regulation are postponed by up to 5 years.

Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 is amended as follows:

(1) in Article 1, paragraph 3 is replaced by the following:

    ‘3. This Regulation shall apply to all flights operating as general air traffic in accordance with instrument flight rules within the airspace above FL285 defined in Parts A and B of Annex I.’;

(2) in Article 3, paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 are replaced by the following:

    ‘2. Without prejudice to paragraph 3, operators shall ensure that aircraft operating flights referred to in Article 1(3) have the capability to operate the data link services defined in Annex II as from 5 February 2020.
    3. Paragraph 2 shall not apply to:  (a) aircraft with an individual certificate of airworthiness first issued before 1 January 2014 and fitted with data link equipment certified against the requirements of one of the Eurocae documents specified in point (10) of Annex III; (b) aircraft which have an individual certificate of airworthiness first issued before 31 December 2003 and which will cease operation in the airspace referred to in Article 1(3) before 31 December 2022; (c) State aircraft; (d) aircraft flying in the airspace referred to in Article 1(3) for testing, delivery or for maintenance purposes or with data link constituents temporarily inoperative under conditions specified in the applicable minimum equipment list required by point (1) of Annex III and Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 and its implementing rules.

4. Member States which decide to equip new transport type State aircraft entering into service after 1 January 2019 with data link capability relying upon standards which are not specific to military operational requirements, shall ensure that those aircraft have the capability to operate the data link services defined in Annex II.’;

(3) in Article 15, in the second paragraph, the words ‘7 February 2013’ are replaced by ‘5 February 2018’;

(4) in Annex I, in Part B, the following is inserted after ‘— Warszawa FIR,’: ‘— Zagreb FIR,’.   

The former EUROCONTROL Link 2000+ Programme oversaw the initial deployment of data link services to support an initial set of controller-pilot data link communication (CPDLC) applications in designated European airspace. Note should be taken of the progress made recently in terms of ground and airborne implementation.

In the longer term, data link will become the primary means of air-ground communications and will be a fundamental enabler of advanced ATM concepts towards full 4D-trajectory operations. This brings with it interoperability challenges, in particular for the operators of transport-type State aircraft which need to fly regularly as general air traffic (GAT).


Support for Datalink implementation

We at EUROCONTROL provide the relevant stakeholders with appropriate assistance and advice in the implementation of EC Regulation No 29/2009 and the Implementing Regulation (EU) 310/2015. That support is available through the Data Link Services – Central Reporting Office (DLS-CRO).