Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) inaugurated the new Singapore Air Traffic Control Centre (SATCC) in February 2014. The key component of the new SATCC is the LORADS III (Long Range Radar and Display System III), a highly advanced ATM system at the leading edge of ATM technology. LORADS III is designed with high reliability and safety in mind to meet the demands of traffic for the decades to come. Housed in separate rooms, namely the Approach Control Centre and Area Control Centre, the new ATM system is designed with multiple layers of fail-safe and redundancy features to further reduce the chances of service interruption.
The centrepiece of the system is the Java Human Machine Interface (JHMI) engine. The highly configurable software reduces controller's workload through new ways of viewing, organising and interacting with flight information. The intuitive and user-friendly Java-based HMI makes it easier for our controllers to complete their tasks. Smart menus and highly configurable windows allow information to be presented in a single screen, giving controllers more time to manage flights efficiently. 4-D trajectory computations helps controllers to make quick decisions, with information to optimize the flight profiles of flights and keeping interventions to a minimum with reduced vectors and level restrictions. This determines how efficiently the aircraft flies, which translates to lesser fuel burn, reducing the resultant pollution and noise, leading to reduction of the environmental footprint for all phases of flight.
Capitalizing on technology to advance efficiency in ATM operations, one of the key objective of ASPIRE, is the hallmark of LORADS III. LORADS III does that by incorporating the latest technologies and innovative features that exploit advances in aircraft navigational accuracy and capability. An example is the capability to process ADS-B data transmitted by aircraft. With data sharing arrangements with our neighbours and the processing of these data from various strategically located ADS-B stations, we have extended the surveillance coverage to airspace previously hampered by line-of-sight limitations. The state-of-the-art and a highly sophisticated Multi Sensor Tracking System (MSTS) creates a single fused track from various surveillance types and sources and provides a comprehensive situation air picture to our controllers. LORADS III integrates the expanded surveillance and ATM support tools which facilitates the gradual reduction in aircraft separation and subsequently increased the capacity on two of our busiest trunk air-routes in previously procedural sectors. Inefficiencies and excessive fuel burn due to assignment of non-optimum levels were greatly reduced. There are plans to expand this to the rest of the Singapore Flight Information region in due course.
LORADS III also introduced increased system automation and integration of improved safety nets to alert controllers of potential traffic conflicts. Some examples are the silent coordination processes and electronic flight strips, Short Term Conflict Alert (STCA) for both Approach and Area sectors and Flight Plan Conflict Function (FPCF). The FPCF is a planning tool (with a probe option) that alerts controllers of potential future conflicts using profile computations to continuous check (on some changes like re-route or change of level assignment) for conflictions. With these new advances in technology and improved safety nets, LORADS III gives our controllers leading edge ATM tools and the confidence to push the envelope and bring about greater efficiency in Air Traffic Management operations resulting in lower carbon emissions.
Compared with our previous ATM system, LORADS III is much more "ASPIRE friendly". For example the decision and approval process for the conduct of Continuous Descend Operations (CDO) is facilitated by the built-in Arrival Manager (AMAN) which reflects the traffic sequence with windows of opportunity for such profiles clearly visible in the AMAN Schedule Time of Arrival (STA) timeline. The selection of the CDO STAR provides a highlight on the aircraft label on the STAR field, distinguishing it from other routine traffic. This improves controller awareness of CDO operations, resulting in lesser chance of interruption of the profile. LORADS III is our key platform to accommodate evolutions in ATM procedures and technologies for the Singapore FIR.
Future evolutions in LORADS III will see the addition of several key advanced new capabilities such as enhanced Mode-S features which will improve further improve safety net performance using data transmitted from aircraft, including selected altitude and heading intent, improved weather detection and display, amongst others. With the advent of A-CDM (airport collaborative decision making) and the roll-out of a regional multi-nodal ATFM (Air Traffic Flow Management) initiative by CAAS in the near future, this will further contribute to sustainable environmentally friendly procedures for the region in the years to come.