Civil & military
Providing efficient joint operations
Historically the use of military airspace by civil aircraft has been severely restricted. Shared use often has to be planned well in advance, making it increasingly difficult to arrange flight plans, especially as our skies are becoming busier year on year.
However, change is in the air. And there are several issues driving closer co-operation between civil and military air navigation service providers:
- The reduction in military traffic throughout Europe means that there is more room in military airspace for civil aircraft.
- In the UK, pressure on defence spending calls for a more efficient military air traffic control system. Synergies with civil air traffic control can be exploited to achieve this.
- Environmental benefits can be gained if civil aircraft don’t have to avoid military airspace. More direct flights will use less fuel, resulting in lower emission levels.
- The operational requirements of modern military aircraft can be better accommodated with flexible airspace.
- Close co-operation between civil and military controllers will help with early identification of rogue tracks and intruders, which is particularly important in today’s security context.
Bringing both parties closer together
To move forward on this issue each side must have a genuine understanding of the other’s problems. This will help to develop trust between the two parties.
At NATS we are in an ideal position to help with this. Since 1962 we have been providing civil air traffic control as well as liaising with the UK’s Ministry of Defence (Royal Air Force) in areas where military traffic needed to cross civilian routes and vice versa.
We have an in depth understanding of the complexities of the situation, as well as the skills and technology to provide a tailored solution through policy, processes and systems.
A recent example of the results that can be achieved through collaboration between civil and military service providers is our success during the London 2012 Olympics, which required the safe and seamless integration of an intense military operation into a busy civil air traffic control operation.
To find out more about our achievements during the 2012 Olympics, read our case study.
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