A system that could enable RAAF air traffic to be controlled from different parts of the country has been demonstrated for ADF members.

Air Warfare Centre Rapid Prototype Program, 44 Wing, Kongsberg and Indra delivered the proof-of-concept demonstration of the ‘Virtual Tower’ at Kongsberg Defence Australia to representatives from the ADF, Airservices Australia and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

The demonstration centred on the integration of the Virtual Tower capability into Defence infrastructure, enabling the air traffic control circuit area at RAAF Base Amberley to be controlled from a remote location in Canberra.
As previously demonstrated at RAAF Base Amberley, the Remote Tower Module demonstrates high-resolution, real-time live panoramic streaming of imagery across an ordinary commercial point-to-point connection, providing the same ‘Out of the Window’ view quality as sitting in a tower at the airfield.

Additionally, instant remote control of the pan-tilt-zoom camera and other system operations was available through commercial network connections, enabling remote tower operations.
Live infrared image streaming is also proving to be an effective situational awareness asset at night, particularly in monitoring movements of wildlife.

Kongsberg Defence Australia general manager John Fry said the new technology would advance Australia’s capacity to provide air traffic services in remote locations across the country.

“With military operations that include remote air bases, orphan airfields, firing ranges, and local civilian airports, the ability to implement stable real-time remote operations across a low bandwidth connection provides significant opportunities for a country like Australia,” Mr Fry said.

“The implementation of this technology will open up opportunities for remote locations and communities all over the country.

“Kongsberg Defence Australia would like to acknowledge the great team effort we have had together with the RAAF Air Warfare Centre, 44 Wing, and Indra Australia, that has made this successful demonstration possible.”

Manager AWC Innovation Hub, Squadron Leader Myles Clarke, said it was no longer a question of ‘if’ this technology was going to become standard across the world, but ‘when’.

“This system significantly reduces operating and infrastructure costs whilst enhancing the Air Traffic Control capability,” Squadron Leader Clarke said.

“This is an exciting and rapidly evolving area of technology and with this dynamic demonstration, we have increased our awareness of opportunities at the leading edge.”