SANDRA Concept


The SANDRA concept consists of the integration of complex and disparate communication media into a lean and coherent architecture that:

  • provides and manages seamless service coverage across all airspace domains and all aircraft classes
  • sustains growth in the service market and enables easy plug-in of future radio technologies through modularity and configurability
  • is upgradeable, easy reconfigurable and radio technology independent
  • is distributed and instantiated into consistent ground-based and airborne sub-networks ensuring full interoperability SANDRA covers from RF and avionics components up to the middleware layer of the on-board network, assembled and integrated under the most stringent safety and security requirements. Ultimately, SANDRA pursues the architectural integration of aeronautical communication systems using:
  • well-proven industry standards like IP, IEEE 802.16 (WiMAX), DVB-S2, Inmarsat SwiftBroadBand,
  • a set of common interfaces
  • standard network protocols having IPv6 as final unification point to enable a cost-efficient global and reliable provision of distributed services across all airspace domains and to all aircraft classes.

The SANDRA validation activity will show the ability of the proposed integrated architecture to easily reconfigure and adapt for the flexible implementation of new communication services.



SANDRA approach to the work plan is based on a scheme encompassing:a concept phase for requirements, scenario and architecture definition, a design phase, an implementation phase, a validation phase of the overall integrated SANDRA system.

The employed approach is oriented towards the final integration of all components and overall system validation in laboratory and in-flight trials. The aim is to implement the key elements, where a special care has been taken to target the implementations in all SPs on technologies with a similar level of maturity to enable a consistent overall integration.

More specifically, in terms of the overall working structure SANDRA is structured in 8 Sub Projects, each of them dedicated to a specific aspect of the project.In more detail, SP1 is concercened about the project management. SP2 is responsible for the “top-down” approach and it develops the scenarios, the overall framework and architecture. SP2 is therefore the central conceptual integration activity in the project.Moreover, the project structure clearly reflects the focus on the four major SANDRA elements, namely:

  • Seamless Networking: SP3 focuses on the specification, simulation and implementation of networking solutions and integrated router prototypes to enable service and technology integration with IPv6 as unification point;
  • Integrated Modular Radio: SP4 designs and develops a prototype of an Integrated Modular Radio as open platform for the implementation of data link technologies;
  • Integrated Antennas: output of SP5 is a hybrid L/Ku band antenna for broadband Satcom;
  • Airport Connectivity with WiMAX: SP6 defines and validates the technical profile and architecture of a surface communication system based on WiMAX IEEE 802.16e standard for ATS/AOC communications, compliant with SESAR/FCI recommendations. The WiMAX implementation will be integrated in the Integrated Modular Radio in SP4. Finally, the overall SANDRA system encompassing prototypes of the integrated router, the integrated modular radio and the integrated antenna will be validated in SP7 in a common laboratory test-bed and in-flight trials using the DLR Airbus A-320.

Exploitation and dissemination activities are coordinated in SP8 where a particular emphasis is put on the coordination with SESAR.


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