NATO-Russia airspace cooperation project undergoes joint tests
Joint system testing is currently underway on the Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI), which is being developed under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Council.
The CAI fosters NATO-Russia cooperation on airspace surveillance and air traffic coordination. Its underlying goal is to strengthen capabilities required to deal with situations in which aircraft are suspected of being controlled by terrorists The first data connection between the NATO and Russian systems was established on 12 December. This led to initial joint system level testing involving the exchange of radar tracks of aircraft for several hours. The joint system tests are due to be completed during the first quarter of 2008. The system will then be used by the operational community during 2008 and 2009 to develop and validate a concept of operations and procedures. A total of around 5 million euros have been invested in the CAI project. Nations that have contributed financially include Canada, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Russia, Turkey, the United Kindom and the United States.
Eight units linked up The CAI system consists of four units in Russia, and four units in NATO member countries. The sites stretch from the far north of Europe in Bodø, Norway, and Murmansk, Russia, down to Ankara, Turkey, and Rostov-on-Don, Russia, in the south. The NATO Coordination Centre is located in Warsaw, Poland, and the Russian Coordination Centre is located in Moscow. The units will host operational staff, and provide both an air situation display and their own voice communications between the sites. This is the first NATO-Russia system of its kind to be fielded. The NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) is leading the implementation of the NATO part of the system. With significant support from nations participating in the CAI and from EUROCONTROL, it has initiated the specification, design, procurement and testing of the system. The software was developed by EUROCONTROL. The State Air Traffic Management Corporation is leading the technical implementation of the Russian part of the system, under the guidance of the Federal Air Navigation Authority. The Russian segment of the system has been developed and supplied by the “Almaz-Antey” Concern. As well as improving air safety and security, the NRC CAI project is contributing significantly to building mutual trust between NATO and Russia.