Saab has been selected by Cranfield University to deliver a digital air traffic control system to the UK’s Cranfield Airport.

Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions will deliver a digital air traffic control system based on a solution developed since 2006, and approved by authorities for operational use since 2015. Digital Air Traffic Control (ATC) services are a “breakthrough within Air Traffic Management (ATM),” Saab says in a release, noting: “The digitalisation of the data they collect and distribute increases the operational efficiency and safety across an airport. The new digital tower service will enable Cranfield Airport to leapfrog into the future of digital services, putting the United Kingdom at the forefront of the global aviation industry.”

Professor Sir Peter Gregson Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University, said: “The digital control tower will be a significant boost for Cranfield Airport and the research capabilities of the University. Combined with our existing and new facilities, the digital control tower will cement Cranfield’s place as the home of the leading aerospace research facilities in Europe.”

Digital air traffic control

Saab and the Swedish Air Navigation Service Provider, LFV, were the first to put digital air traffic control into operation. In June 2016, Saab and LFV established the joint venture Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions. In 2015, the airports in Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall became the first in the world to be controlled via a Digital Tower Centre in Sundsvall. Linköping Airport will follow suit and become the third remotely-controlled airport in 2017. Successful test installations have also been implemented in Australia, the USA, the Netherlands, Norway and Ireland in diverse environments and at various distances.