NINOX Remote Towers – the Largest Remote Tower Installation in the World

Avinor Air Navigations Services in Norway is now implementing NINOX Remote Towers for 15 airports – all controlled from one Remote Tower Center.

In 2015, Avinor ANS contracted Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, together with team partner Indra Navia, for 15 airports in Norway, with an option of additional 21 airports. The first airport will be operational and controlled by the Remote Tower Center (RTC) in the town of Bodø by mid-2018, with the 15th airport implemented by the end of 2020. The Avinor NINOX program is a result of a strategic approach. The system requirements are based on a well-defined Concept of Operations and Avinor’s Safety and Human Performance assessments.

The ATCO will have a full out-the-window view with all necessary user interfaces in a clean desk environment. Foto: Eirik Helland Urke

NINOX Remote Towers is a complete system covering all necessary functionality to provide Air Traffic Control Service for multiple airports, including Indra Navia’s highly flexible InNOVA AIR Tower System. The NINOX Remote Towers is based on a true Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), where the NINOX 360 Camera presents the panoramic sensor coverage, and the NINOX PTP (Pan Tilt Platform) provides zooming and tracking capabilities. The Air Traffic Controller (ATCO) can remotely control all local navaids, airfield lights, met sensors and other ATC systems on the airports from the RTC. All components are tied together into a fully real-time integrated system. Each airport requires about 50 mbps bandwidth – at most.

The NINOX system is designed to replace the ATCO position in the conventional TWR, at any airport, with a controller working position in a Remote Tower Center – or in an operations center at the airport (the Virtual Tower). All systems operated from the cabin in the conventional TWR are available from the RTC, including the Out the Window (OTW) view. All system requirements fulfill the ICAO Doc 4444. A particular requirement is documented in ICAO Doc 8964, that the ATCO must have a 20/20 vision. This means that the ATCO must have the same quality view as viewed by his/her own eyes if sited in a conventional TWR.

The Ninox Electro Optical Sensor Suite deployed at Kjeller Airport in Norway

The NINOX 360 Camera can present an image with a spatial resolution that corresponds to the human visual acuity – which is 0.28 milliradians. A 0.28 mrad resolution equals resolving 28 cm details at 1 km range. The sensor provides an impressive vertical field of view of 60 degrees, and with one seamless 360-degree uniform image, the NINOX Heads-Up Display (HUD) is the leading OTW view in the market. Moving Target Indicators (MTIs), information overlay (weather/terrain info), augmented reality, track/flight data from the ATM system and Artificial Intelligence features reinforce the situational awareness to enable the ATCO to make safe and correct decisions.

The NINOX 360 Camera is mounted on a rotating platform incorporating two cameras. One line scan camera for visual light, VIS 360°, and one line scan camera for Long Wave Infrared Light, IR 360°. The platform rotates up to 5 Hz and provide 5 eye resolution 360° images per second. The 5 Hz update rate on 100 Hz flicker-free screens draws the Operators attention to moving objects such as planes, cars, animals and people.

The Ninox PTP with VIS95 day camera, IR camera, laser range finder and signal light gun

Both the NINOX 360 Camera and the NINOX PTP are positioned on a mast construction so that the ATCO’s “eyes” are positioned in a similar position, as a conventional TWR cabin would be. For an airport, NINOX offers significant savings in terms of space, power consumption and maintenance, when replacing a conventional TWR.

The NINOX Remote Tower concept is young, however it is based on well-proven, safe and mature technology. With its open architecture, NINOX is well prepared for growth, further new technology inserts and mission expansion, and NINOX provides scalable and cost-effective solutions for all customers and applications.