back to article Logicalis lands mega air traffic computer deal. Yes, that Logicalis

Troubled integrator biz Logicalis has scooped itself a contract to supply the UK's main air traffic control firm with key IT infrastructure equipment and services. The new kit will be used as part of NATS' contribution to the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research programme (SESAR), which aims to fit more aircraft …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research programme, only until 11pm Friday 29 March, 2019, then there will be a need for a UK version as well

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Why? Are you expecting Brexit to physically move the UK to another continent? I suppose that could explain why the Irish are getting tetchy about the border...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Brexit May cause problems

        http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/Documents/economics/impact_of_brexit.pdf?utm_source=&utm_medium=&utm_campaign=

        And

        http://www.airtrafficmanagement.net/2016/06/brexit-fallout-for-single-sky-remains-unclear/

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          http://www...../brexit-fallout-for-$subjectarea-remains-unclear/

          That should cover all the relevant sectors of the UK economy.

    2. BanburyBill

      One hopes the Grate Branes of the Brixiteers will be able to distinguish between the EU and EuroControl. The latter is larger, and predates the former.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Logicalis are managing SESAR for NATS and you're worried about Brexit?

      Brexit might protect you by grounding the planes...

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Burbled

    Yup. Burbled just fits.

  3. Dr Who

    What ...

    could possibly go wrong? Not like it's safety critical or anything.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardware

    I wonder what infrastructure they're supplying. I'd love for it to be a massive cluster of small ARM-based credit card sized devices. Sky In The Pi...

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Hardware

      I wonder what infrastructure they're supplying.

      Logically it would just have to be in the cloud(s)...

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Hardware

      "I'd love for it to be a massive cluster of small ARM-based credit card sized devices"

      Raspberry Pi in the sky?

  5. trevorde

    Someone else's computer

    Can't wait until the cloud goes TITSUP

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Someone else's computer

      If a cloud goes TITSUP is usually means we are in for some precipitation as it can no longer hold its own, albeit nebulous, form.

      Or did you mean something even more ephemeral?

      :)

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Someone else's computer

      Total Inability To Support Up-in-the-air Planes ?

  6. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Quite feasible

    Air traffic control is in fact something that lends itself perfectly to some comprehensive computer algorithms. All (IFR) aircraft are flying known (expected) directions, speeds and altitudes, with very, very few aircraft deviating significantly from what is expected. All positions, speeds and altitudes are reported at short intervals to ATC so any such deviations can be very quickly detected and dealt with. All ATC actions are taken in accordance with a fixed set of straightforward rules.

    You'd need human oversight to deal with the completely unexpected and the occasional emergency, but 99.99% of operations could easily be controlled by computer - probably more safely than a human approach, area or tower controller in fact, because a computer will not get fixated on one unusual situation and fail to spot another situation developing. Ground operations are far less predictable, and so ground control is probably still best handled by a human.

    1. RPF

      Re: Quite feasible

      This would be unworkable on approach and departure at busy airports/terminal areas.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Quite feasible

        "

        This would be unworkable on approach and departure at busy airports/terminal areas.

        "

        Why? Vectoring & scheduling moving objects so that they fit into a pattern is perfectly suited to a computer algorithm - it should be able to perform better than a human controller in that respect.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    You can't get the valves. You can't get the valves.

    Mr Mainwaring.

    Joking aside IIRC the original NATS project was 100s of £m over budget and years behind schedule.

    Let's see if this one goes any better.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unreliable, unpredictable - and controlling your planes.

    You're a bit late in the day, Logicalis have been on this for about 18 months!

    This is a doomed f***-up of a project designed to run a generic compute internal cloud for what were previously stove-piped systems. It started off at 3-sites and with no lessons learned expanded to 5 sites at huge expense. In the middle of this NATS sacked their Head Architect - always a good sign!

    Apparently no-one has any idea if the new apps will run fast enough, whether the datalinks are good enough or how your agile cloud can be changed without buggering everything else up. But then that's the cloud.

    There's a stack of expensive kit but whether its good enough to run air-traffic management services on no-one has a clue. Betting is a complete primary systems failure twice in the first five years. Thankfully the big planes have ACAS so that should cut down on deaths.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unreliable, unpredictable - and controlling your planes.

      So it's a fairly typical fashion-driven modern IT project then.

      That's a surprise, innit.

    2. Chrissy

      Re: Unreliable, unpredictable - and controlling your planes.

      ACAS? The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service ?

      (Although I see Wikipedia has an article on ACAS as "Airborne collision avoidance system"... not sure how that relates to TCAS, unless TCAS is considered a type of ACAS , or ACAS is the newer more generic term?)

      TCAS... Traffic Collision Avoidance System

      See also FLARM for the little itty bitty planes and gliders

      and GPWS

      Or how about we just use CAS, as that covers any collision into any thing.

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