AeroMACS - ARINC Industry Activities

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AEEC Project Initiation/Modification
March 8, 2014
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AEEC Project Initiation/Modification (APIM)
1.0 Name of Proposed Project APIM 11-013A
AeroMACS Avionics Specification
1.1 Name of Originator and/or Organization
Nikos Fistas / EUROCONTROL
Brent Phillips / FAA
2.0 Subcommittee Assignment and Project Support
2.1 Suggested AEEC Group and Chairman
It is proposed that the work within the AEEC will be undertaken in two steps.
The first step (step 1) will be within the SAI Subcommittee. The primary objective
is to undertake a preliminary analysis, in particular, the desired airborne
architecture meeting in an evolving manner the airline needs. A key outcome of
step 1 will be the agreement on the way ahead for the AeroMACS avionics
standard and will be essential to scope the standardization activity (to be carried
in step 2) and identify the desired features in the ARINC Standard for
Then, in step 2. use the foundation of step 1 to undertake the drafting of the
AeroMACS specification in a dedicated group to be identified per the
recommendation of the SAI Subcommittee.
2.2 Support for the activity (as verified)
Airlines: American, FedEx, Southwest, TAP Portugal, United, UPS
Airframe Manufacturers: Airbus, Boeing
Suppliers: ACSS, Harris, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, SELEX ES, Thales
2.3 Commitment for Drafting and Meeting Participation (as verified)
Airlines: United, UPS (others TBD)
Airframe Manufacturers: Airbus, Boeing [TBC]
Suppliers: Harris, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, SELEX ES, Thales
2.4 Recommended Coordination with other groups
AEEC Subcommittees: as required AGCS, AOC, DLK, others TBD
3.0 Project Scope
3.1 Description
AeroMACS (Airport Mobile Access Communication System) is one of the new
data links proposed in the Future Communications Infrastructure (FCI) and is
intended to support the future airport surface communications.
AeroMACS is identified in the ICAO COM roadmap and the ICAO Global Air
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Navigation Capacity and Enhancement Plan (GANP) strategy (as a Block 2
element) and is scheduled to operate in protected AM(R)S spectrum. AeroMACS
is designed to support both safety of life (Air Traffic Management, ATM) and
regularity of flight (Aeronautical Operational Control, AOC) operations.
AeroMACS is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard (WiMAX) and will deliver an
IP-based high data rate radio link, which will be used to support existing as well
as enable future (advanced) aircraft-to-ground (ATS) and (AOC) services. In
addition AeroMACS can enable and support SWIM type of services in the airport
surface environment.
The AeroMACS protocols and features are covered in the AeroMACS profile
which is a selected subset of the WiMAX and IEEE 802.16 standard providing
the minimum requirements that are needed to support global interoperability. The
AeroMACS profile has been jointly standardized in EUROCAE and RTCA and is
also a recognized profile of the WiMAX commercial standard, aiming to facilitate
the availability of equipment.
Furthermore, RTCA (SC-223) and EUROCAE (WG-82) have jointly developed
AeroMACS Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) covering the
ground and airborne side and EUROCAE is continuing now with the development
of the AeroMACS Minimum Aviation System Performance Standards (MASPS).
Finally, ICAO ACP WGS is finalizing the AeroMACS SARPS and will also
develop an AeroMACS Technical Manual.
The AEEC standardization effort is proposed to develop the required avionics
specification to cover the items such as:
• Airborne transceiver form, fit, function, interface, definition capable of
operating in the MLS Extension Band 5000 to 5150 MHz
• Avionics architecture
• Interfaces to airborne peripherals, i.e., control/display functions, central
maintenance functions, etc. (Items to be considered are the need or not
to identify aircraft network domain (ACD, AISD), message structure,
specific equipment interfaces (CMU, ATSU, MCDU, etc.) and data
destination management.)
• Integration with related broadband systems
• Segregation from unrelated functions
• Aircraft installation guidelines
• Antennas and cabling
• Others items [TBD]
The above list will be revisited and finalized at the end of the step 1 activity, in
which the scope of the AeroMACS specification will be defined in detail.
During WRC07 the extended MLS band between 5091 and 5150 MHz was
opened for ATC/AOC communication by including a co-primary AM(R)S
allocation. Because of its short wavelength and the resulting propagation
characteristics this frequency band is primarily suitable for short ranges in
particular the airport surface.
During the period from 2005 up to 2007 EUROCONTROL and FAA co-operated
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under Action Plan 17 in the development of a future communication infrastructure
(FCI) that would be required to support the emerging future concepts as
identified today in SESAR and NextGen.
As a result of the FCI study, Eurocontrol and FAA decided to co-operate in the
standardization of AeroMACS system – based on IEEE 802.16.
For efficient operations Airlines and Airport operators rely more and more on high
data rate IP based applications. Aircraft gate turnaround times can be optimized
by providing high data rate radio links - such as AeroMACS - allowing the timely
availability of all data required in order to speed-up aircraft arrival and departure
procedures. Most of the bandwidth hungry AOC applications are being
transferred between AOC centers and aircraft at the gate (software loading, EFB,
etc.). Future ATC operations may rely also on new ATC commands while existing
ATC messages could be offloaded from existing VDLM2 data links while
transmitting on the airport surface.
Just as any other modern commercial mobile communication system available on
the market (based on commercial standards such as CDMA 2000, GSM, etc.),
WiMAX is likely to be subject to patents. All patents issued for WiMAX (and
therefore potentially applicable to AeroMACS) are centralized within the WiMAX
Forum ( The WiMAX Forum policy in
accepting patents is compatible with the ITU and ICAO policy and allows patents
as long as they are made available on a fair and non-discriminatory base.
In general any specific patents and owner of patents need to be identified, and
commitment for licensing from the patents owners shall be addressed, as defined
by the ARINC patent policy.
As the general idea is to implement AeroMACS based on an existing COTS
product, the individual user will not see any patent issues as it will be part of the
overall cost. It is believed that patents costs are in the order of 5% of the COTS
unit cost (actual cost will depend on previous quantitative roll out of available
COTS product and are thus only known to the COTS manufacturer).
As mentioned previously, it is proposed to carry out the work in two steps and to
start the work in the SAI group for step 1 and then decide the best way to
proceed to the step 2 activities which will involve the drafting of the specification.
AeroMACS operates in protected spectrum and needs to support not only
regularity of flight (AOC) services but also safety of life applications (ATM). As a
result AeroMACS may have specific certification and accreditation requirements,
for example more stringent than Gatelink.
This standard should target both forward fit installations as well as retrofit
installations - if deemed commercially interest.
Potential areas of standardization include:
• FFF box dimensioning for both commercial and business aircraft (if
o For new developments
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o For forward/retro fits
• Interface Control Document with related aircraft systems
• Avionics architecture
• Handling of security related aspects (such as certificates and / or
equipment authorization)
Additional information for the expected standardization areas is provided in
section 3.1. Furthermore, it is noted again that the areas that the AeroMACS
specification will cover, will be defined in detail at the end of the step1 activity, in
which the scope of the AeroMACS specification will be defined in detail.
3.2 Planned usage of the envisioned specification
Note: New airplane programs must be confirmed by manufacturer prior to
completing this section.
Use the following symbol to check yes or no below. 
New aircraft developments planned to use this specification yes  no
Airbus: (aircraft & date) no planning yet
Boeing: (aircraft & date) TBD
Other: (manufacturer, aircraft & date)
Modification/retrofit requirement yes  no
Specify: (aircraft & date) TBD
Needed for airframe manufacturer or airline project yes  no
Mandate/regulatory requirement yes  no
Program and date: (program & date)
Is the activity defining/changing an infrastructure standard? yes  no
Specify (e.g., ARINC 429)
When is the ARINC Standard required?
2016 ____
What is driving this date? Standardization progress in RTCA, EUROCAE and
RTCA and need of avionics specifications to consider further deployment and
support planning
Are 18 months (min) available for standardization work? yes  no 
If NO please specify solution: _________________
Are Patent(s) involved? yes 
If YES please describe, identify patent holder:
The WiMAX forum organization holds the database with all relating WiMAX
(AeroMACS) patents (
3.3 Issues to be worked
• Query as required WiMAX OEMs and System Suppliers
• Define AeroMACS transceiver form fit and functional
• Avionics architecture
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• Define and specify detailed Interfaces to airborne peripherals, i.e.,
control/display functions, central maintenance functions, etc.
• Propose and define Integration with related broadband and future ATC
communication systems
• Define segregation principles from unrelated functions
• Ensure interoperability with other applicable ARINC standards
• Aircraft installation guidelines
• AeroMACS Antennas and cabling specifications
• Other items (TBD)
List to be revisited at end of step1 activity
4.0 Benefits
4.1 Basic benefits
Operational enhancements yes  no 
For equipment standards:
a. Is this a hardware characteristic? yes  no 
b. Is this a software characteristic? yes  no 
c. Interchangeable interface definition? yes  no 
d. Interchangeable function definition? yes  no 
If not fully interchangeable, please explain: _________________
Is this a software interface and protocol standard? yes  no
Specify: _________________
Product offered by more than one supplier yes  no 
Identify: Selex ES, Harris, Honeywell, Hitachi
4.2 Specific project benefits (Describe overall project benefits.)
This section describes the capabilities that are expected to be provided to the
aircraft and ground by the installation and operation of AeroMACS.
Due to the use of an all IP radio, the radio can be easily integrated in existing
AOC networks or future networks such as PENS (Pan European Network
Services) in Europe.
Much higher radio data throughputs will be made available at airport surface
compared to existing avionics systems used today such as ACARS or ATN/OSI
(VDLM2). While Gatelink (WiFi) is also providing high data throughputs the public
ISM band is getting saturated in some regions due to the high interference levels
encountered. AeroMACS should not encounter this problem as it will operate in
dedicated spectrum reserved for aviation. AeroMACS additionally offers a more
remote connectivity to aircraft moving on the taxiways or parked on the apron far
from a gate.
AeroMACS will be the first data link that will require IP access into the cockpit.
Therefore the AeroMACS work will also facilitate the integration of future IP
based ATC radios such as LDACS and the SBB or future SATCOM.
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4.2.1 Benefits for Airlines
Airlines will be able to rely on a high-speed data rate connection located in
protected (interference free) spectrum and will be able to optimize the airport
surface communication between their aircraft and AOC center. The timely
availability of needed information on aircraft status will allow faster turnaround
times at the gate.
AeroMACS can also be considered as one of the future radio components
bringing SWIM to the aircraft (Aircraft Access to SWIM - AAtS).
Because AeroMACS is an all IP radio, integration with existing local AOC IP
ground network infrastructure should be simplified.
Several ATC data messages have been identified in the COCR to be carried over
FLIPINT, COTRAC (phase 2 ramp) etc.). Some messages are already sent over
VDLM2 and will be transferred over AeroMACS to create more capacity on
existing European congested VDLM2 channels. Other messages are new and
are part of the effort to reduce gate turnaround time or are linked to new 4D
trajectory based ATM operations.
Some other (not COCR based) ATC messages are being identified by FAA and
are intended to run over AeroMACS as well.
4.2.2 Benefits for Airframe Manufacturers
Airframe Manufacturers could provide diverse communication link options such
as AeroMACS – Gatelink to their customers. As multiple avionics equipment
suppliers are interested in delivering AeroMACS the airframe manufacturers may
offer different supplier choices to their customers.
4.2.3 Benefits for Avionics Equipment Suppliers
Equipment suppliers could benefit from this standard because the common
interface description will allow them to provide their radio offering in several
5.0 Documents to be Produced and Date of Expected Result
ARINC Project Paper 7xx: AeroMACS Avionics Specification
5.1 Meetings and Expected Document Completion
The following table identifies the number of meetings and proposed meeting days
needed to produce the documents described above.
Product/Activity Mtgs Mtg-Days (Total) Expected Start Date
Completion Date
Step 1 - AeroMACS
Avionics Architecture 4 8 days (4x2) June 2014 June 2015
Step 2 - ARINC Project
Paper 7xx: AeroMACS
Avionics Specification
4 8 days (4x2) June 2015 June 2016
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It is expected that 3 or 4 meeting in the context of planed SAI Subcommittee
meetings will be required for Step 1 and the rest of the meetings to complete the
work in Step 2. This APIM will be updated for step 2.
The in-person meetings will be augmented by web conferences held as
6.1 Expiration Date for this APIM
April 2017
Submit completed form to the AEEC Executive Secretary.

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