Main Features and Capabilities

LDACS (L-band Digital Aeronautical Communications System) is the future terrestrial data link for aviation currently under ICAO standardization. It is a secure, scalable and spectrum-efficient high-rate data link designed to cover both ATS and AOC services. It is a cellular communications system and, thus, avoids co-channel interference problems as experienced in some of current data link deployments.

It manages services priorities, an important feature not available in some of current data link deployments. Thus, LDACS guarantees bandwidth, low latency, and high continuity of service for safety critical ATS applications while simultaneously accommodating less safety-critical AOC services.

Its technology is based on modern, well-proven state-of-the-art technology as applied for LTE/4G mobile radio. With that, LDACS is future-proof and enables high-rate, low latency data link communications well beyond the scope of current and proposed VHF communications. It covers ATN/B1 and ATS/B2. It is expected to also cover ATS/B3 as well as additional future services, including full 4D trajectory-based operations (TBO) and flight-centric air-traffic management (ATM).

LDACS is a secure data link with built-in security mechanisms. It enables secure data communications for ATS and AOC services, including secured private communications for aircraft operators and ANSPs (Air Navigation Service Providers).

It is expected that LDACS together with upgraded satellite-based communications systems will be deployed within the Future Communication Infrastructure (FCI) and constitute the main components of the multilink concept within the FCI. Both technologies, LDACS and satellite systems, have their specific benefits and technical capabilities which complement each other. Especially, satellite systems are well-suited for large coverage areas with less dense air traffic, e.g. oceanic regions. LDACS is well-suited for dense air traffic areas, e.g. continental areas or hot-spots around airports and terminal airspace. In addition, both technologies offer comparable data link capacity and, thus, are well-suited for redundancy, mutual back-up, or load balancing.

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