CGI secures communications between pilots and air traffic control

Satellite communications firm Inmarsat has outsourced the provision of security IT and services to CGI

Satellite communications firm Inmarsat has outsourced the provision of security IT and services to CGI as part of a European Space Agency (ESA) air traffic management project.

CGI is providing IT security services to the company behind the latest satellite communications system used to manage European airspace, in a contract worth £2.8m.

The ESA commissioned satellite communications supplier Inmarsat to provide the communications system between pilots and air traffic control in European airspace.

IT services company CGI will develop safety systems integration and IT security services to the project known as Iris Precursor.

The service will use Inmarsat’s satellite broadband, SwiftBroadband, and CGI will provide integration with air traffic management systems and introduce security to protect against cyber attack on the communications links. The systems will enter initial flight trials in 2016.

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce said the project will enable the company’s SwiftBroadband service to meet the European regulations and standards for data link communications. 

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“It will play an integral role in the future of European air traffic services infrastructure. CGI’s role in developing, integrating and deploying the required ground network systems is a central component of the work and we selected the company based on its deep space industry experience, safety and security systems expertise and proven delivery track record,” he said.

CGI has worked directly with the ESA for over 35 years.

Iris Precursor project is designed to make sure the communications network used will have the capacity and reliability to add applications in the future as part of the Single European Skies ATM Research (SESAR) programme. This includes adding the ability to update flight plans en-route and improve the sequencing of aircraft into busy airport.

In June, British Airways announced it was the launch customer for Inmarsat’s in-flight passenger broadband service.

Inmarsat provides mobile satellite communication services. In December 2013, it launched the first of three Inmarsat-5 satellites and is on schedule to achieve full global coverage by the end of 2014. It has 1,600 staff in more than 60 global locations. 

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