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Within its civil aviation activities, Euro Telematik AG is concerned with the operation management of special aircraft fleets, all-weather operation of aircraft, and tracking of air vehicles independent from ATC radar coverage. During the first round of the ESA Telecom Start-up Initiative the Euro Telematik proposal for the MASSAO activity was selected for funding. Euro Telematik's role is:
The following key issues were addressed during the project:
While commercial airlines and large aircraft operators typically maintain airline operating centres (AOC) which allow for world wide communication with their fleet through professional communication service providers and multiple communication channels, smaller, more specialised operators need a customised system solution on a smaller scale. These operators typically operate a fleet of around 10 aircraft or helicopter that are used for special missions such as:
A smaller sized solution will have a significant advantage over existing products in the high-end market segment, which are more expensive by an order of magnitude. No other competitive product on system level is available on the market in this cost segment.
The CDTI-2000 unit serves as the core unit and the crew interface to the on-board system. It exchanges information with the satellite communication transceiver via a serial interface.
After the transmission from the transceiver to the satellite communication service providers ground segment the message is forwarded by e-mail to the AeroFleet Server. The ground station AeroFleet retrieves the e-mail and decodes the message.
A number of dispatcher work stations (Clients) can be connected to this server in the operators centre. Staff can monitor and manage aircraft operations.
Messages from the ground system to the CDTI-2000 are handled in a similar way. In this case messages can be send from the server to the on-board transceiver by means of a dedicated e-mail address. The data is then transmitted further to the CDTI-2000.
The work to be performed for the MASSAO project is broken down into three items:
The management task will run all along the project, while the technical and commercial feasibility be performed in sequential order in accordance with the ESA ITT.
The project started on 24 April, 2002 and was completed on 24 October, 2003.
The project is completed.
The technical feasibility of the system (Task 1) has been confirmed through the following elements:
In the commercial feasibility analysis, the following elements were addressed:
Following the project work packages Euro Telematik has developed a plan to introduce the MASSAO system into the market under the product name 'AeroFleet'. Final development to bring the technical demonstrator to product level is being performed and is expected to be finalized in early 2004. Extensions to the system with new functions are also planned to incorporate new customers requirements or to include emerging technology.
The marketing and sales plan derived in the business concept is currently being implemented. A cooperation agreement with a satellite equipment manufacturer and avionics distribution company has been signed. Contact has been made with an initial set of potential launching customers. First deliveries of field test systems are expected for the first half of 2004.