German Air Force's Schmidt raises air traffic management challenges for efficiently integrating military, civil aircraft in common airspace

MUNICH, 21 March 2012. The need for civil-military air traffic management (ATM) coordination continues to increase exponentially, observes Brigadier General Hans-Georg Schmidt, German Air Force, in his Avionics Europe 2012 keynote, “Civil-military ATM/ASM Coordination.”

ATM has become increasingly important for the efficient use of airspace for military and general aviation, says Schmidt. The military is the biggest “airline” in the world, operating 150 main military airfields, 3,300 combat aircraft, 7,300 helicopters and light aircraft, and 1,100 transport-type aircraft.

The flexible use of airspace (FUA) concept was born. It stipulates that “airspace should not be designated as either pure civil or military airspace, but rather be considered as a continuum in which all user requirements have to be accommodated to the extent possible,” Schmidt explains.  

Potential problem areas associated with a blended civil/military airspace include: time, flexibility, and support systems—all of which are key to the framework of SESAR.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in non-segregated airspace is a highly contested issue, Schmidt describes. UAVs must be integrated slowly and a wide variety of issues need to be resolved to avoid negatively affecting the ATM system.


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