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Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS)

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Advanced Surface Movement Guidance & Control System


A-SMGCS (Advanced Surface Movement Guidance & Control System) is a system providing routing, guidance and surveillance for the control of aircraft and vehicles in order to maintain the declared surface movement rate under all weather conditions within the aerodrome visibility operational level (AVOL) while maintaining the required level of safety. (ICAO Doc 9830: Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control Systems (A-SMGCS) Manual).

A-SMGCS is a modular system consisting of different functionalities to support the safe, orderly and expeditious movement of aircraft and vehicles on aerodromes under all circumstances with respect to traffic density and complexity of aerodrome layout, taking into account the demanded capacity under various visibility conditions.

Traffic Display at London Luton Airport

A-SMGCS is more than just a set of systems, it also includes complementary procedures and at the lower levels of implementation aims to deliver improved situational awareness to controllers. Higher levels of implementation deliver safety nets, conflict detection and resolution as well as planning and guidance information for pilots and controllers.

A-SMGCS is a key enabler for the Integrated Tower Working Position (ITWP) which combines surveillance, controller tools and safety nets for aerodrome controllers.

Basic Functions

As described in the ICAO Manual (see further reading), A-SMGCS consisits of four basic functions:

  • Surveillance
  • Control
  • Planning/Routing
  • Guidance

A-SMGCS Levels

Implementation of A-SMGCS defines 4 levels:

  1. A-SMGCS Level 1 (improved Surveillance) makes use of improved surveillance and procedures, covering the manoeuvring area for ground vehicles and the movement area for aircraft. The procedures concern identification and the issuance of ATC instructions and clearances. The controllers are given traffic position and identity information which is an important step forward from the traditional Surface Movement Radar (SMR) image.
  2. A-SMGCS Level 2 (Surveillance + Safety Nets) adds safety nets which protect runways and designated areas and the associated procedures. Appropriate alerts are generated for the controllers in case of conflicts between all vehicles on runways and the incursion of aircraft onto designated restricted areas.
  3. A-SMGCS Level 3 (Conflict Detection) involves the detection of all conflicts on the movement area as well as improved guidance and planning for use by controllers.
  4. A-SMGCS Level 4 (Conflict Resolution, Automatic Planning & Guidance) provides resolutions for all conflicts and automatic planning and automatic guidance for the pilots as well as the controllers.

Warning Systems

When warning systems can be installed within a A-SMGCS, aural (word) warnings not just sounds should be provided when practicable. (European Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions, Appendix K, Page K4)

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Further Reading