INNOVATION: RAAF Amberley has been experimenting with a virtual control tower system that can be operated remotely from anywhere in the world
INNOVATION: RAAF Amberley has been experimenting with a virtual control tower system that can be operated remotely from anywhere in the world amberley

RAAF trials emerging technology at Amberley

THE Royal Australian Air Force has been trialling emerging technology in air traffic management with an active demonstration of a virtual control tower that can be operated remotely from anywhere in the world.

Defence Industry partners Indra Australia and Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace have been working in partnership with personnel from the surveillance and response group to install a Kongsberg 360 camera system and integrated inNOVA air traffic management system next to the air traffic control tower at RAAF Base Amberley.

With similar technology used by a number of civilian air traffic service centres across Europe, the installation marks a significant milestone as the first virtual air traffic management system on a defence establishment in the Southern Hemisphere.

This innovation highlights the benefits of combining "out-the-window" airfield visibility with radar data, to deliver a fully integrated virtual tower that can be manned remotely from the airfield.

The system live streams images to a remote site on RAAF Base Amberley which are then displayed on window-sized monitors.

President of Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace Eirik Lie said the camera and associated systems were developed with enhanced security, safety and efficient air traffic services in mind.

"Kongsberg is a renowned provider of well-proven military systems... and is very proud to demonstrate the Remote Tower System at RAAF Base Amberley," Mr Lie said.

"The system includes a panoramic out-the-window view, external surveillance feed of augmented reality information on the display screens, and an integrated view of air traffic control information for remote control.

"This system features an ultra-high resolution, real-time day and infra-red camera system capable of detecting, tracking and identifying aircraft and ground objects at military and civilian airfields. The system is now installed on 15 airports in Norway - the largest remote tower program in the world."

Wing Commander David Shepherd said the demonstration provided important insight and awareness of emerging air traffic systems technology.

"The focus is to deliver safe, adaptable capabilities for those who depend on us," Wing Commander Shepherd said.