In an ambitious move to revolutionize air traffic management, NAV CANADA has chosen Kongsberg Geospatial as its key technological partner for the Digital Aerodrome Air Traffic Services (DAATS) program. This groundbreaking initiative aims to deploy the largest digital aerodrome air traffic services program globally, leveraging state-of-the-art technology to enhance operations even in the world’s harshest environments.

Kongsberg Geospatial, known for its real-time software solutions in air traffic and defence sectors, will spearhead the project with support from Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace and Avinor. The partnership has been solidified through a framework contract awarded by NAV CANADA. The goal is to replace certain air traffic control (ATC) towers and flight service stations (FSS) across Canada with advanced digital hubs that integrate remote sensor data.

The DAATS program is a multi-year effort focused on transforming how NAV CANADA delivers air traffic services. Central to this transformation are Kongsberg’s Digital Towers and Hub Facilities, which represent the future of air traffic management. These facilities utilize cutting-edge camera technology to offer equivalent or superior local services from digitally managed hubs, independent of their airport locations. Emphasizing safety, efficiency, and adaptability, these modern hubs are designed for flexibility, maintenance ease, and enhanced contingency planning. They also aim to improve the experience of NAV CANADA’s employees by standardizing processes, technology, and training.

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The Kongsberg Digital Towers system enhances safety and situational awareness through high-quality sensor data and proven technology. At the heart of the system is advanced electro-optical sensor technology, derived from sophisticated military applications. This sensor suite includes a rotating platform with a 360° visual and infrared camera, a pan-tilt platform with a zoom camera, a fixed lens IR camera, a laser range finder, and a signal lamp. The system’s low bandwidth requirement ensures cost-effective delivery of high-resolution panoramic airport images to air traffic personnel. Already operational at 15 airports in Norway under the Avinor NINOX program, this technology is also in use at the world’s largest digital tower hub in Bodo, Norway.

“Kongsberg Geospatial is proud to write aviation history in Canada, alongside NAV CANADA. We will deliver a digital ATC FSS towers solution that is state-of-the-art, and we look forward to working with NAV CANADA and our partners to develop the next generation of aviation safety,” said Jordan Freed, President of Kongsberg Geospatial.  “We have been a technology provider to NAV CANADA for over 15 years and we welcome the opportunity to continue to provide next generation air traffic services in Canada.”

“Digital facilities provide an opportunity to re-imagine how we deliver service, and where we deliver it from, allowing NAV CANADA to respond effectively and efficiently to changes in airport traffic demand,” said Raymond Bohn, President and CEO, NAV CANADA. “NAV CANADA will leverage the Kongsberg technology to continue to provide safe and efficient service levels, increasing resiliency in a way that will provide additional value to our customers and travelling Canadians.”

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The first digital facility in the DAATS program is set to be established at Kingston, Ontario Airport. This facility will serve as a testbed to refine and evaluate the technology and procedures, laying the groundwork for a potential digital hub in Kingston. This hub could eventually provide air traffic services to multiple airports in other communities within four to six years. The DAATS program is a cornerstone of NAV CANADA’s strategy to enhance safety, improve customer services, and ensure long-term resilience and sustainability.

As NAV CANADA embarks on this transformative journey with Kongsberg Geospatial, the future of air traffic services looks poised for remarkable advancements, promising a safer, more efficient, and sustainable aviation landscape.