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ORBexpress - Essential Component of Air-Traffic Center Simulation at EUROCONTROL


Objective: The European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) is a civil and military organization currently consisting of 36 member states. EUROCONTROL's core activities include gate-to-gate air navigation service operations, strategic and tactical flow management, controller training, regional control of airspace and development of leading-edge, safety-critical technologies and procedures. In order to effectively meet these requirements and manage this important work, EUROCONTROL's mission is to develop a seamless, pan-European Air Traffic Management (ATM) system capable of handling future growth and expansion in air traffic operations, while ensuring a high level of safety and cost-efficiency.

Eurocontrol ESCAPE Simulator

Method: Air Traffic Management researchers at the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre in Bretigny, France, are using a powerful tool: the EUROCONTROL Simulation Capability and Platform for Experimentation (ESCAPE). This real-time simulator reproduces the complete environment of an existing Air Traffic Control operations room, allowing for experimentation with advanced automated tools, as well as new controller working methods and changes to the ATM environment. ESCAPE is a Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) application, distributed over as many as 70 UNIX machines. Featuring interoperating applications, written mainly in C++ and Ada95, ESCAPE uses ORBexpress for Ada and an open-source Object Request Broker (ORB) for C++.

Result: ORBexpress® offered EUROCONTROL an easy integration with the OASIS cross-development environment of Ada and C++ applications. Chosen as the infrastructure for the ESCAPE simulator's core applications, ORBexpress was selected for its proven stability and performance, as well as for its interoperability with many other CORBA implementations. EUROCONTROL also chose ORBexpress because of Objective Interface's royalty-free runtime policy, which fits with the EUROCONTROL strategy for deploying ESCAPE. The simulator is distributed free of charge to a growing number of partners in Europe, allowing them to perform their own customizations in a CORBA environment.

"We have developed a very flexible and business-focused middleware (OASIS) on top of ORBexpress and an open-source ORB to deploy a CORBA3 CCM-like application for our Air Traffic Management Program. ORBexpress meets our most rigorous requirements for perfomance, reliability and safety, improving our air traffic operations."


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