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LDACS Flight Trials: Demonstration and Performance Analysis of the Future Aeronautical Communications System

Bellido-Manganell, Miguel Angel and Gräupl, Thomas and Heirich, Oliver and Mäurer, Nils and Filip-Dhaubhadel, Alexandra and Mielke, Daniel M. and Schalk, Lukas Marcel and Becker, Dennis and Schneckenburger, Nicolas and Schnell, Michael (2021) LDACS Flight Trials: Demonstration and Performance Analysis of the Future Aeronautical Communications System. IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems. IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. doi: 10.1109/TAES.2021.3111722. ISSN 0018-9251.

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Official URL: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9535223


The L-band Digital Aeronautical Communications System (LDACS) is a key enabler of the new air traffic services and operational concepts necessary for the modernization of the air traffic management (ATM). After its initial design, compatibility tests with legacy L-band systems, and functional demonstrations in the laboratory, the system is currently undergoing the standardization process of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). However, LDACS has not been demonstrated in flight yet. In this paper, we present the first in-flight demonstration of LDACS, which took place in March and April 2019 in southern Germany and included four LDACS ground stations and one LDACS airborne station. We detail the experimental setup of the implemented LDACS ground and airborne stations together with the flight routes, the conducted experiments, and the frequency planning to ensure compatibility with legacy systems. In addition, we describe the demonstrated ATM applications and the security measures used to protect them. Based on the obtained measurement results, we evaluate the LDACS in-flight communication performance for the first time, including the achieved communication range, the measured end-to-end message latency, and the LDACS capability to provide quality of service by effectively prioritizing safety-relevant data traffic. Furthermore, we use the in-flight received signal power to assess the applicability of a theoretical path loss model. These flight trials contribute to the final steps in the development of LDACS by providing its in-flight communication performance and by demonstrating: first, its correct functionality in a realistic environment; second, its capability of supporting ATM applications and the advanced security measures that can be used to protect them; and third, its spectrum compatibility with legacy systems. We conclude that LDACS is ready to support ATM operations and that LDACS frequency planning can safeguard legacy systems successfully.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/144108/
Document Type:Article
Additional Information:This work was co-funded under the research program LuFo V-2 (Luftfahrtforschungsprogramm) of the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy (BMWi).
Title:LDACS Flight Trials: Demonstration and Performance Analysis of the Future Aeronautical Communications System
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Bellido-Manganell, Miguel AngelMiguel.BellidoManganell (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0668-3477
Gräupl, ThomasThomas.Graeupl (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Heirich, Oliveroliver.heirich (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Mäurer, NilsNils.Maeurer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Filip-Dhaubhadel, AlexandraAlexandra.Filip (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Mielke, Daniel M.Daniel.Mielke (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-0625-8910
Schalk, Lukas MarcelLukas.Schalk (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Becker, DennisDennis.Becker (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Schneckenburger, NicolasNicolas.Schneckenburger (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-9952-7555
Schnell, MichaelMichael.Schnell (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Keywords:L-band Digital Aeronautical Communications System (LDACS), flight trials, Air-Traffic Management (ATM), Air-Traffic Control (ATC), communication, navigation, surveillance (CNS), Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC).
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AI - Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Cyber-Security Centric Communication, Navigation and Surveillance
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Communication and Navigation > Communications Systems
Deposited By: Bellido-Manganell, Miguel Angel
Deposited On:01 Oct 2021 14:56
Last Modified:14 Jan 2022 12:23

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