Aeronautical Message Handling System

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ATS Message Handling System (AMHS) also known as Aeronautical Message Handling System is a standard for aeronautical ground-ground communications (e.g. for the transmission of NOTAM, Flight Plans or Meteorological Data) based on X.400 profiles. It has been defined by the ICAO.

ICAO Doc 9880 Part II[1] defines two fundamental levels of service within the ATSMHS;

  • Basic ATSMHS and
  • the Extended ATSMHS.

Additionally, ICAO Doc 9880 (Part II, section 3.4) outlines different subsets of the Extended ATSMHS. The Basic ATSMHS performs an operational role similar to the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network with a few enhancements. The Extended ATSMHS provided enhanced features but includes the Basic level of service capability; in this way it is ensured that users with Extended Service capabilities can inter-operate, at a basic level, with users having Basic Service capabilities and vice-versa.

The ATSMHS is provided by a set of end systems, which collectively comprise the ATS Message Handling System. The systems co-operate to provide users (human or automated) with a data communication service. The AMHS network is composed of interconnected ATS Message Servers that perform message switching at the application layer ( Layer 7 in the OSI model ).

Direct users connect to ATS Message Servers by means of ATS Message User Agents. An ATS Message User Agent supporting the Extended level of service will use the Basic level of service to allow communication with users who only support the Basic ATSMHS.

Interoperability[edit]

In order to ensure unobstructed communication between the ANSPs, the European Air Navigation Planning Group (EANPG) of ICAO has defined 59 test cases in its EUR AMHS Manual (V5.0), 17/06/2010 (Appendix D, AMHS Conformance Tests), ASIA/PAC AMHS Manual (Annex B, AMHS Conformance and Compatibility Test, V2.0, 22/09/08) which have to be performed prior to establishment of bilateral links between the ANSPs. Those tests are conducted using a test engine (AMHS Conformance Test Tool) and verify the conformance to the AMHS standard, which is defined in ICAO Doc 9880-AN/466: Manual on Detailed Technical Specifications for the Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) using ISO/OSI Standards and Protocols, Part II, First Edition - 2010.

In the context of Single European Sky (SES) initiative and the European regulation EC552/2004[2] EUROCONTROL developed a specification[3] to complement the regulation. The use of the specifications facilitates the demonstration of conformity to the essential requirements and regulatory provisions.

Implementations[edit]

In order to facilitate the transition from legacy protocols to this new standard EUROCONTROL launched a project called ECG (European or EATM Communications Gateway) to develop a gateway between AFTN and AMHS. The ECG was developed by the French manufacturer Thales and the German manufacturer COMSOFT. Meanwhile, nearly all AMHS systems in Europe are derived from the ECG (see table below).

Similar solutions are offered by Copperchase Ltd (International), Avitech GmbH (Germany), Intelcan (Canada), TELEFONICA (Spain), IDS (Italy), Radiocom (USA) working together with Skysoft Servicios S.A. (Argentina) and FREQUENTIS (Austria).

The first AMHS system was implemented by Avitech GmbH (Germany) as a pioneer solution and went into operational use in 1996 with 36 centers for the German Military (Bundeswehr) and the first AMHS connection in Europe is in operational use since February 2005 between the ANSPs of Germany and Spain. Second in Europe were Bosnia and Herzegovina with Austria in 2011. The first operational AMHS connection in the Middle East was established in 2009 between the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) and Oman. In the meantime Abu Dhabi has evolved as a nucleus for the introduction of AMHS in the Middle East, resulting in a coherent AMHS network of operational connection between UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar. Since 2010 Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia form the first operational AMHS triangle. In 2012 the South American countries Peru and Colombia joined the circle of AMHS users while Asia has operated AMHS links between Hong Kong and Macao since 2009 and between Singapore and India since 2011. During the year 2013, Copperchase Ltd implemented the ATS Aeronautical Message Handling System (AMHS) for Luena and Soyo Airports in Angola. The following year the same company, Copperchase Ltd implemented 2 further AMHS systems in Angola. In 2014 Copperchase Ltd implemented 4 AMHS systems for a Training facility and a Test Lab facility in the USA for the Northrup Grumman ES.

Interregional AMHS connections for improved traffic between ICAO regions could be established between the UK and the US in 2011 and the UK and Singapore in the beginning of 2012.

By end 2011, ANSPs worldwide have replaced 14 operational international AFTN connections by an AMHS link. The up-to-date worldwide implementation status of AMHS is recorded in the ICAO COM Charts which are available from the AMC (ATS Messaging Management Centre) operated by EUROCONTROL.

AMHS usage around the world[edit]

Country / Authority Online since AFTN / AMHS Gateway ATS Message User Agent ATS Service Level System Supplier
Abu Dhabi (civil aviation authority) 2009 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Abu Dhabi(new airport) 2000 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Afghanistan (OTAN) 2010 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Albania 2011 Yes Yes Extended FREQUENTIS
Algeria 2004 Yes Yes Basic THALES
Argentina (Civil Aviation) 2005 Yes Yes 250 Extended RADIOCOM + SKYSOFT
Argentina (Military) 2012 Yes Yes 75 Extended SKYSOFT
Australia 2007 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Austria 2013 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Azerbaijan 2013 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Bahamas 2012 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Bahrain 2009 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Bangladesh 2013 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Belgium 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Belize before 2008 Yes Yes Basic COCESNA
Bolivia 2010 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Botswana 2013 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Brazil 2009 Yes Yes Basic Atech
Brunei 2014 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Bulgaria 2012 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Bulgaria (military) 2011 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Cambodia 2013 Yes Yes Extended AVITECH
Canada 2012 Yes Yes Extended AVITECH
Cape Verde 2005 Yes Yes Extended FREQUENTIS
Cayman Islands 2014 Yes Yes Basic FREQUENTIS
China/Hong Kong 2009 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
China/Macao 2008 Yes Yes Basic COMSOFT
Chile 2010 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Colombia 2009 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Costa Rica before 2008 Yes Yes Basic COCESNA
Croatia 2004 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Croatia 2013 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Curaçao 2012 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Cyprus 2003 Yes Yes Basic THALES
Denmark 2011 Yes Yes Extended FREQUENTIS
Dominican Republic 2009 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Dubai 2012 Yes Yes Extended AVITECH
Ecuador (Quito & Guayaquil) 2011 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Ecuador (Guayaquil - Backup system) 2007 Yes Yes Extended RADIOCOM + SKYSOFT
El Salvador before 2008 Yes Yes Basic COCESNA
Egypt 2008 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Ethiopia 2010 Yes Yes 43 Extended RADIOCOM + SKYSOFT
Eurocontrol CFMU 2005 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Eurocontrol MUAC 2011 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Fiji 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Finland 2010 Yes Yes Extended FREQUENTIS
France 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Germany (civil) 2005 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Germany (military) 1996 Yes No Extended AVITECH
Ghana 2012 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Greece 2002 Yes Yes Basic THALES
Guatemala before 2008 Yes Yes Basic COCESNA
Guinea 2012 Yes Yes Extended Intelcan
Guyana 2011 Yes Yes Extended Intelcan
Honduras before 2008 Yes Yes Basic COCESNA
Hungary 2009 Yes Yes Extended AVITECH
Iceland 2010 Yes Yes Extended Tern Systems
India (civil) 2012 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
India (military) 2011 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Iran 2011 yes yes extended partodadeh
Ireland 2011 Yes Yes Extended FREQUENTIS
Italy 2005 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Jamaica 2010 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Jordan 2008 Yes Yes Extended AVITECH
Kenya 2012 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Kuwait 2012 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Laos 2010 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Latvia 2010 Yes Yes Extended FREQUENTIS
Lebanon 2012 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Liberia 2012 Yes Yes Extended Intelcan
Lithuania 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Luxemburg 2013 Yes Yes Extended FREQUENTIS
Macedonia 2006 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Malaysia 2013 Yes Yes Extended FREQUENTIS
Mexico 2012 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Moldova 2012 Yes Yes Basic IDS
Montenegro 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Morocco 2007 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Mozambique 2012 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Myanmar 2010 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Nepal 2012 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Netherlands 2009 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
New Zealand 2012 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Nicaragua before 2008 Yes Yes Basic COCESNA
Oman 2008 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Pakistan 2009 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Panama 2012 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Papua New Guinea 2013 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Paraguay 2008 Yes 50 Extended RADIOCOM + SKYSOFT
Peru 2008 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Philippines 2006 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Poland 2014 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Portugal 2012 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Qatar 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Romania 2010 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Russia 2014 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Saudi Arabia 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Serbia 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Sierra Leone 2012 Yes Yes Extended Intelcan
Singapore 2007 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Slovakia 2008 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Slovenia 2011 Yes Yes Extended THALES
South Africa 2009 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Spain  ? Yes  ?  ? Telefónica
Sri Lanka 2012 Yes Yes Extended IDS
St. Maarten 2012 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Sudan 2004 Yes Yes Basic THALES
Suriname 2011 Yes Yes Extended Intelcan
Switzerland 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Taiwan 2005 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Thailand 2009 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Trinidad & Tobago 2012 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT
Tunisia 2008 Yes Yes Extended AVITECH
Turkey 2009 Yes Yes Extended AVITECH
Turkmenistan 2014 Yes Yes Extended THALES
Ukraine 2014 Yes Yes Extended AVITECH
United Kingdom 2006 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFTCOPPERCHASE
United States 2013 Yes Yes Basic COPPERCHASE
Uruguay 2013 Yes Yes Extended FREQUENTIS
Venezuela 2010 Yes Yes Extended RADIOCOM + SKYSOFT
Zambia 2013 Yes Yes Extended IDS
Zimbabwe 2010 Yes Yes Extended COMSOFT

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]