Northrop Grumman has been awarded European Community and EUROCONTROL funding to carry out research work to help streamline and modernise Europe’s air traffic management structure.

As a part of the four-member North European Air Traffic Management Industry Group (NATMIG), Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems, a Northrop subsidiary will receive $18.7m contracts from the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) joint undertaking programme for the project.

The SESAR joint undertaking programme by the European Commission and EUROCONTROL has an additional 16 member organisations including NATMIG.

SESAR will provide air-traffic controllers with intelligent information systems helping aircraft to reach their destinations rapidly, safely and in a more environmentally friendly manner.

Under the programme, routes will be allocated to treble airspace capacity, improve safety by a factor of ten and reduce environmental impact of each flight by 10%.

SESAR will provide research, development and prototypes for area control centres, aircraft surface movement guidance and control systems and satellite navigation systems ground-based augmentation system (GBAS).

Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems managing director Eldar Hauge said that airport density in Europe is high and European airspace is among the busiest in the world with the growth in flight movements expected to double by 2030, making air traffic control increasingly complex.

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The subsidiary will work on enhanced surface and air routing, guidance and enhanced tools for conflict detection and resolution.

Research is expected to be complete by 2016.