Working Group B
Working Group B held one meeting (WG- B/18) in February in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting reviewed the results of voice quality testing of VDL Mode 3 in the presence of radio interference. The meeting concluded that DSB AM voice reception is susceptible to radio interference, in particular when the RF signal levels are low. The VDL Mode 3 digital voice signal is under similar conditions more robust.
Working Group C
Working Group C held one meeting in April 2005. The meeting reviewed activities undertaken by European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) and the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to identify future communications technologies to meet safety and regularity of flight communications requirements, i.e. those supporting air traffic services (ATS) and aeronautical operational control (AOC). In accordance with the work plan of the panel, the meeting reviewed the operating concepts and requirements work. The purpose of the Future Communication System (FCS) Initial Communications Operating Concept and Requirements (ICOCR) is to develop a mutual understanding of the a) future communications concepts of operation; b) services necessary to achieve the operational concepts; and c) environment(s) in which the services will be delivered. The meeting also reviewed the methodology and progress of the pre-screening phase of the future communications study. This activity reviews potential technologies and assesses their high-level capabilities, projected maturity and their potential applicability to aviation.
The Air Navigation Commission had tasked the AMCP to develop draft SARPs and guidance material for the universal access transceiver (UAT). Accordingly, the ACP developed draft SARPs and a manual containing detailed technical specifications as well as guidance material on implementation issues for the UAT. The UAT subgroup held four meetings in 2005: UAT 8, Langen, Germany, 31 January to 2 February 2005; UAT 9, Montreal, Canada, 28 February to 2 March 2005; UAT 10, Montreal, Canada, 14 to 16 March 2005; and UAT 11, Montreal, Canada, 11 to 13 April 2005. The Air Navigation Commission considered on 10 November 2005 (170 7) the draft SARPs and guidance material for UAT and agreed that the proposed amendments to Annex 10 be transmitted to Contracting States and appropriate international organizations for comments (State letter AN 7/1.3.89 06/8 dated 24 February 2006 refers).
Working Group F
Working Group F held two meetings, WG F/13 in February in Bangkok, Thailand and WG F/14 in August in Malmo, Sweden.
WG F/13 progressed the development of the ICAO position for ITU WRC 07. The meeting reviewed difficulties with regard to the identification of spectrum requirements for new aeronautical communication systems. The meeting agreed to provisions for incorporating in Annex 10 as well as in the ITU Radio Regulations provisions for the use of the frequency 978 MHz for the UAT system. The ICAO position was, after review by the Air Navigation Commission, approved by the Council in June. The meeting, which was combined with the ICAO Regional Preparatory Group for the ITU WRC 07 of the ASIA/PACIFIC Region, also reviewed aspects of the agenda for the ITU WRC 07 which were specific to this region. A proposal for addressing compatibility issues with regard to interference into GBAS that can be caused by FM radio broadcasting transmitters was agreed. This proposal, which provides guidelines to States on the assessment of such interference, was subsequently submitted to the ITU Working Party 8B and is currently under study in ITU. The meeting noted with concern the development of material in ITU on the use of ultra wideband systems (UWB). The current characteristics of these systems are not sufficient to protect aeronautical communication and navigation systems from interference under all conditions. Also, the development of broadband access systems using power lines was noted. These systems, which have the potential to cause harmful interference to in particular HF frequencies, currently exclude the use of the aeronautical HF bands.
WG F/14 concentrated on further developments in the area of preparatory activities by various organizations for ITU WRC 07. The meeting addressed the need for spectrum being available for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), both for telecommand for controlling UAV's (providing a safety-of-life function) and telemetry purposes.
In particular, great concern was expressed about proposals for sharing RF spectrum allocated for the use by the MLS with mobile services, and in particular by aeronautical telemetry. It was agreed that analyses presented to ITU on this matter would not be acceptable by ICAO and require amendments. The meeting further reviewed material relevant to the ITU WP 8B meeting in September.
Working Group M
Working Group M held one meeting, WG M/10, in May, partly in combination with WG B. The progress achieved at the combined meeting with WG B has been reported under the summary of activities for WG B. WG M further progressed the work on revising the AMSS SARPs, while incorporating the material developed at AMCP/7 for next-generation satellite systems. As a result, draft AMSS SARPs have been developed which contain only high level and regulatory material. Almost all of the current AMSS SARPs in Annex 10, Volume III (Chapter 4) has been proposed for incorporation in a manual. Similar manuals can be developed for other AMS(R)S systems, as and when necessary. WG M also reviewed proposed amendments to the Manual on VHF Digital Link (VDL) Mode 3 (Doc 9805) and the Manual on VHF Digital Link (VDL) Mode 4 (Doc 9816). The material developed by WG M was submitted to the ACP Working Group of the Whole meeting in June 2005.
The Iridium Subgroup of Working Group M (WG IRD) held one meeting in 2005. The main tasks of the subgroup are a) to develop an Iridium technical manual in a timeframe that would support the suggested applicability date of the AMS(R)S SARPs by November 2007; b) to create an implementation manual to provide guidance to States on commissioning the system; c) to identify any validation requirements associated with the Iridium technical manual and conduct appropriate validation if necessary; d) to establish a documentation control system to identify and manage the core documents; e) to coordinate with other ICAO panels as appropriate through the ICAO Secretariat; and f) to secure broadest participation from industry in the activities of the sub-group. Draft versions of the above mentioned documents are available for download on the ACP website.
Working Group N
Working Group N held two meetings, WG N/3 in May in Montreal, Canada, and WG N/4 in November in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. In conjunction with these meetings, subgroup meetings were organized. The meetings addressed the ongoing implementation in different regions of TCP/IP rather than the standard ISO/OSI protocol suite, for ground-ground communication systems in the ATN, in particular for AMHS. An important factor is the industry moving away from OSI based commercial products in favour of the worldwide acceptance of the Internet Protocol (IP). Ongoing implementation of air ground ATN over VDL Mode 2, however, is based on the OSI protocols, as specified in the ICAO SARPs and guidance material. Working Group N is in the process of completing its report on the introduction of TCP/IP protocols in Annex 10 and related guidance material, as required, for review by a meeting of the ACP Working Group of the Whole in June/July 2005. The main goal of this activity would be to develop a recommendation to the ANC on the need for ACP to undertake further work in this area. Working Group N progressed work on PM CPDLC material and reviewed the need for introducing an application level (end-to-end) checksum to the ICAO CPDLC messages with the view to provide for an end-to-end security mechanism operating completely separate from the VDL Mode 2 system. This measure would reduce the risks of undetected corrupted messages or their misdelivery. The work on AMHS profiles, with the goal of supporting binary data exchanges such as MET messages in BUFR format was further progressed. These activities are expected to be completed in 2006. Ongoing work in EUROCAE on the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is being monitored by Working Group N.
ACP Working Group of the Whole
A meeting of the ACP Working Group of the Whole was held in June in Montreal, Canada. The meeting reviewed all activities which were undertaken in the various working groups of the panel since AMCP/8 (February 2003).
The Working Group of the Whole agreed to propose the draft SARPs and guidance material for the UAT system for adoption/approval by ICAO. Also, draft amendments to the SARPs and guidance material for the ATN were agreed. It should be in particular noted that new material for a protected mode CPDLC was proposed to be introduced in the Manual of Technical Provisions for the Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) (Doc 9705). This material will eventually replace the existing material for CPDLC (non-protected mode). The meeting also agreed to recommend ICAO to develop draft SARPs and guidance material for the introduction of IPS in the ATN (ground-ground). This material is to be completed by June 2007. Also, continuation of the feasibility study on using IPS in the air-ground data links was agreed. A report is due by June 2006.
The Working Group of the Whole reviewed draft generic SARPs for the aeronautical mobile satellite (R) service (AMS(R)S and recommended to ICAO to replace the existing material on the AMSS with these generic, mainly functional, SARPs. The Working Group of the Whole agreed to continue to develop guidance material for new satellite systems. A sub group is currently addressing guidance material for the use of the IRIDIUM system in civil aviation. Significant amendments to the Manual on VHF Digital Link (VDL) Mode 3 (Doc 9805) were completed. Frequency assignment planning material for VDL Mode 2 were also completed.
The Working Group of the Whole agreed to the material on new communication systems, as developed by Working Group C. The communications operating concept and requirements for the future radio system was agreed and recommended for information and comments from other ICAO bodies.