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The future air traffic management satcom system

Communication system for air traffic

Project duration: 2009 až 2014

Project manager: Radek Záruba

Iris is a multi-year program funded by the European Space Agency (ESA - ARTES 10). The objective of the Iris program is to design and develop new satellite communication systems for safety critical air/ground data and voice communication, enabling the future ATM (Air Traffic Management) concepts being defined by SESAR and NextGen. ANTARES is the main project currently running under the Iris program. Its objective is to design a new, purpose built satcom system. Alternative solutions based on the adaptation of existing Inmarsat systems have been analyzed in THAUMAS project and is planned to continue in the near future with the Iris precursor program. Iris shall be an open standard allowing worldwide deployment of compatible systems (although the primary deployment target is EU).

Within phase B2 of the ANTARES, Honeywell has developed the first laboratory prototype of the airborne User Terminal (UT) based on a commercial of the shelf Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform. This prototype will be used for the initial ANTARES system performance validation in the laboratory test bed. Besides the UT prototype developed by Honeywell the test bed will include number of other elements developed by other members of the ANTARES consortium (ground station prototypes, satellite channel emulators, emulators of the higher protocol layers etc.). In the future phases of the project the software will be further developed to higher technology readiness levels and ported either to the custom built prototype of the future SDR avionics or to the existing avionics satcom radio. The new satcom radio product should provide latency, data rate and reliability required for future ATM applications.


The company has a long history of successfully managing and executing complex space and aerospace programs, from design, development and testing to manufacturing and product support. The company provides high quality products that contribute to the mission success of many space platforms worldwide. Our Research and development capabilities within the EU are concentrated in our Advanced Technologies Europe (ATE) organization located in Brno, Prague (both CZ) and Toulouse (F) where our scientists and engineers are focused on advancing aerospace and space technologies. Working closely with engineers from across Honeywell, new technologies created by our ATE organisation are developed for productionization and ultimately rolled out to the aerospace industry.

What would you name as main benefits of the project to you and your company?

“The ANTARES project has helped Honeywell to evolve its satcom offerings for the requirements of the project, building on our core skills, expertise and knowledge in this area. Honeywell, as a world leading company in satcom avionics, aims to extend its broad satcom portfolio by developing technologies for future requirements in this field.a Participation in the Iris program is therefore a logical step in new avionics product development. In addition, integration of the Iris User Terminal in early stage of development with other airborne radios may help to incorporate Iris systems onboard the aircraft with minimal negative impact on equipment size, weight and power parameters.”