Saab Digital Tower Solution goes to Cranfield Airport

Saab’s digital air traffic control system is becoming part of the world-leading aerospace research facilities at Cranfield University in the UK. A digital tower will be installed at Cranfield Airport, which the university owns and runs.

Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions CEO Johan Klintberg and Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University sign the contract.

“The digital control tower will be a significant boost for Cranfield Airport and the research capabilities of the University”, says Professor Sir Peter Gregson Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University.

How does the digital technology work?
A mast will be installed at Cranfield Airport, equipped with cameras and sensors recording everything that takes place. All this data is sent digitally to a control centre and is projected onto a 360-degree view on large screens in front of the air traffic controllers.

This solution combines image monitoring combined with other systems, such as radar display, navigation aids and information about flight plans and weather conditions; all the information that the controllers need to manage the traffic.

Improved safety is crucial, and the camera technology in the new remotely controlled tower makes it possible to cope with difficult light conditions much better than before. The system adjusts the images automatically when there is direct sunlight or there are snow reflections, which makes it possible for the controllers to follow an aircraft that is climbing skywards without becoming dazzled. The technology also allows controllers to zoom in and enhance the image in order to pick out details.

“We look forward to the collaboration with Cranfield University and their strong links with the industry in the area of innovative research and development”, says Johan Klintberg, CEO of Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions.

The digital air traffic control system complies with same existing rules and regulations as for conventional towers and the data traffic can take several routes to ensure that the data arrives even if an interruption occurs. Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions is the first supplier in the world to offer an approved digital solution for air traffic control. 

Curious about how it works? Here are five things you might not know: