Updating air traffic management to make flying safer
An EU-funded project has developed an integrated IT platform to identify and manage threats to the air traffic management system. This is helping to build a comprehensive and harmonised European framework to make air transport safer for everyone.
© erserg #118221801, 2018. Source: fotolia.com
There are a number of emerging vulnerabilities that can affect air traffic management (ATM). They include greater reliance on distributed computing and the automated flow of information across networks within a European framework for managing aviation security.
The EU-funded GAMMA project worked towards developing an integrated Europe-wide system to identify and manage such threats. It also addressed the international dimension, for example, by considering interoperability with systems in the USA. By enhancing the security of the ATM system, the project has made an important contribution to the safety of air transport and the travelling public.
GAMMA has contributed to the discussions over the future shape of ATM security management by demonstrating how to build on generally accepted principles, while exploring their technological and operational implications and opportunities, says GAMMA project coordinator Giuliano dAuria, of Leonardos Security and Information Systems Division in Italy. Since many of the ideas are based on new concepts for managing ATM security, GAMMA has made a deliberate effort to engage as much as possible with institutions and stakeholders.
Early military intervention
Researchers conducted a comprehensive assessment of all known security threats and vulnerabilities likely to affect ATM systems in the future. This was used to define an ATM security architecture, taking into account the perspectives of a wide range of European institutions, including military organisations.
The 19-member GAMMA consortium tested, refined and validated ATM security prototypes using both security threat assessment models and a real-world environment.
In one of the projects final exercise scenarios involving a hijacking event and sabotaged communication systems the GAMMA concept enabled an earlier response time by the military.
The proposed ATM security solution extends the scope of information sharing while maintaining a strong link to current international and European legal frameworks, and the constraints imposed by national sovereignty.
The project has adopted innovative technologies, applied to a range of different applications in the ATM security domain, dAuria says. The most significant innovation, however, relates to the way in which these diverse applications are brought together to enable new and innovative concepts for the collaborative management of ATM security.
In response to Europes ATM systems becoming overloaded and outdated, the EU created a legislative framework for European aviation known as the Single European Sky. As part of this framework, the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) initiative was established to improve ATM performance through the modernisation and harmonisation of existing and future technologies, systems and procedures.
The need to minimise the impacts of security incidents on the overall operation of the ATM system emerged as a key objective. This called for a comprehensive assessment of all security threats and emerging vulnerabilities that can affect ATM. GAMMA coincided with this period of significant change in the institutional framework defining the management of ATM security in Europe.
Building on the achievements of SESAR, the project took a holistic approach to assessing ATM security and defining a complete European security management framework.
The initial lack of clarity over the future governance and management of ATM security was gradually filled with more concrete proposals emerging from the relevant European institutions, says d'Auria. While this evolving scenario represented a challenge for the GAMMA programme in its initial years, it also opened an opportunity for proposing a vision for the future shape of ATM security management. .