Phoenix (ATC)

PHOENIX is a multipurpose Radar Data Processing System (RDPS) / Monitoring Data Processing System (SDPS) – aka tracker – used for ATC Many applications in the Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), and is Continuously extended and maintained ever since. PHOENIX is also a fundamental component for all future ATM systems in the DFS into the 2020s and part of the DFS initiative for “ATS componentware” in the European SESAR program.


Since 2001, the DFS has developed its own radar and sensor data processing system, known as PHOENIX (a programmatic name instead of an acronym), which is applied in a variety of environments, for a variety of purposes . With PHOENIX the DFS is an ATC system. ATC and C³ systems have been developed and implemented, and they have been developed and implemented.

The PHOENIX tracker was originally developed for the surveillance of civilian ATC traffic. It is able to perform MSDF using very different sensor types. Due to its flexible design it is perfectly suitable for surface movement.

Grand Context

German air traffic of today between 1000 and 2000 aircraft at the same time in the national airspace. Besides classical ATC radars also new types of sensors or position information sources like Multilateration, ADS-B, and others are to be integrated. Per day it is required to process up to 10000 flight plans. In the context of the discussion and development of transnational functional airspaces block like FABEC the required number of maintainable tracks will even grow beyond the 3000, possibly more than 5000 simultaneous tracks. An equivalent growth in inability to reasonably assumed. Each aircraft is suitable for both air and space flight conditions, And each IFR aircraft needs to correct the flightplan data correctly to the track; Simple code-callsign-pairing.

CWPs, ranging from 1 (low-end applications) or 5 (in towers) to 120 (in ACCs), which results in the demand Of an excellent scalability for such a system. In addition, CWPs will create and coordinate data and additional track-related information that are distributed over the LAN and eventually to external partner systems. To keep the total complex still controllable, system status monitoring and commanding facilities have to be inbuilt. Last but not least such system environments need to be managed efficiently.

Phoenix Deployment

PHOENIX is a common R / SDPS tool in the German ATC world, used at more than 150 operational locations, scheduled for more than 700 additional rentals, and used as a test, analysis, and evaluation tool in more than 200 locations. Today, PHOENIX is an international R / SDPS tool with internationally recognized system.

Phoenix Paradigm

Phoenix As ATS Component

Phoenix has been developed following the decomposition of ATS componentware (ATS CW):

  • ATS units shall be regarded as “system of systems”,
    • Eg a system for each decomposed domain. An ATS systems may consist of subsystems,
    • Eg a ACC ATS system may consist of a subsystem “Main” and a subsystem “Fallback”. ATS systems or subsystems always included Hardware (HW),
  • Software (SW), and Network Infrastructure (NET). HW, SW, NET consist of segments, eg
    • A HW segment is a single host,
    • A SW is the application SW for a host,
    • A NET segment is a LAN segment. SW segments consist of components,
  • Components are executable (UNIX / LINUX) processes and / or scripts

Phoenix Tracking Engineering

PHOENIX includes a 2 track server configuration, one with an IMMKF and another with a 1MKF. Targets with different manoeuvrability, which is expressed by the process of the motion model. The process is a mathematical description for the uncertainty of a future position and velocity. Targets for which constant motion is an established fact, and all uncertainties due to changes in the targets’ motion state are modelled by nonzero process noise.

Phoenix Software Engineering

PHOENIX is based on the Commercial Off-The-Shelf hardware and software, on the LINUX operating system, and on a modular Air Traffic Control (ATC) system philosophy. The existing system with its open architecture design is adaptable and scalable from a simple tower automation application over a complex approach.

Phoenix Standards

ICAO , EUROCONTROL and other recognized organizations. ICAO , EUROCONTROL and other recognized organizations. The development and evolution of the PHOENIX

Phoenix Components


  • Multi radar track servers (1MKF, IMMKF, MSDF, d-mrts)
  • Track distribution services (d-trksend)
  • Configuration and distribution servers (d-dis)
  • Recording and replay servers (d-rdr)
  • Message servers (d-msg)
  • Flightplan and Linkage processing servers (d-fps)
  • Persistence Servers (d-pds)
  • Information Data Server for dfs (d-ids)
  • Radar weather server (d-ws)
  • Safety Net Server for STCA, RAI, MSAW, GPM (d-snet)
  • Airport Situation Assessment Server for RWY incursions, TWY infringements, etc. (D-asas)
  • Online tracking quality control statistics server (d-otqc)
  • LANBLF Interface and Proxy
  • FATMAC interface and TWRTID Server


  • Controller Working Position (d-cwp)
  • Tower Touch Input Approach Display (twrtid)
  • Flight Data Workstation (d-fdb)
  • Analysis Working Position (d-awp)
  • Maintenance Working Position (MWP) with:
    • Adaptation Data Editor (d-adg)
    • HMI Distribution Configuration (d-disfront)
    • Map Editor (d-map)
    • System Monitoring (d-mon)

Support processes (daemons, interface agents, utilities)

  • Proxies for PHOENIX middleware (proxy_server)
  • Status collector agents (d-agent)
  • Application initialization agents (d-init)
  • Interface agents for various flightplan data formats (d-fplIa)
  • Bridges for sensor data, flightplan messages (d-sbr, …)
  • Interfaces to various printers
  • Test data generators (d-gen, d-stca, etc.)
  • Video switch controllers

Phoenix History

Phoenix history
year Event
2001 Development start, begin of SH / T
2002 Shadow ops in test phase at Leipzig Tower Cluster
2003 Decision for FBS based on PHOENIX
First data fusion with ADS-B
2004 First external customer
PAM experiments with MLAT / WAM
2005 FBS software completed (MWPs, DIS, FDBs)
first version of AWP
2006 Rollout for Tower clusters completed
2007 Rollout for ACCs started
MSDF development with SMR started
2008 First SMGCS MSDF version
FIS CWP version, AWP with 3D display


Main Source

  1. Heidger, R. (2010): The Phoenix White Paper

Other references

  1. Engels, K .; Heidger, R. (2008): An Infrastructure for Online Tracking Quality Control. In: ESAVS 2008 conference proceedings, Capri, Italy 2008.
  2. Heidger, R., Klenner, T., Mallwitz, R. (2003): Mode of evaluation and practical implementation with DFS Multiradar-tracking system. In: International Radar Symposium 2003 Proceedings, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ortung und Navigation, Bonn 2003 and Navigation, Bonn 2003
  3. Heidger, R., Klenner, T., Lauterbach, K. (2005): PHOENIX Interface Control Document. Version 1.0, DFS, Langen, Dec. 2005.
  4. Heidger, R., Klenner, T., Mallwitz, R. (2004): The PHOENIX Multi-Radar Tracker System for Air Traffic Control Applications. pp. 193-222, in: Air Traffic Control Quarterly. Flight. 12, Number 3, 2004.
  5. Heidger, R. (2005): A distributed system architecture for ATC systems. In: 2nd International Workshop on Intelligent Transportation (WIT 2005). Conference Proceedings, TU Hamburg 2005.
  6. Heidger, R .; Nguyen, Ha Son (2007): An analysis of the position for radar data processing quality control. In: ESAVS 2007 conference proceedings, Bonn, 2007.
  7. Heidger, R .; Mathias, A. (2008): Multiradar Tracking in PHOENIX and its Extension to Fusion with ADS-B and Multilateration. EuRAD 2008.
  8. Heidger, R .; Natchev, R. (2008): Trajectory computation for tracking evaluation and linkage processing. In: ESAV conference proceedings (2008), Capri, Italy.
  9. Heidger, R. (2010a): Fallback Strategies and Fallback Systems in the DFS ATM Infrastructure. In: Proc. Enhanced Surveillance of Aircraft and Vehicles (ESAVS 2010), Berlin, Germany, March 16 17, 2010.
  10. Heidger, R. (2010b): Innovations in the Surveillance Infrastructure at the DFS. In: Skyways ATC Magazine. Eurocontrol, Brussels, Belgium.
  11. Heidger, R., Mathias, A .; Pourvoyeur, K. (2010): Multi-Sensor Data-Fusion for Combined Air and Ground Situation Awareness. In: Proc. Enhanced Surveillance of Aircraft and Vehicles (ESAVS 2010), Berlin, Germany, March 16 17, 2010.
  12. Mathias, A .; Forwarder, K. (2010): “Enhanced IMM Model Switching using Residual Accumulation,” in Proc. Enhanced Surveillance of Aircraft and Vehicles (ESAVS 2010), Berlin, Germany, March 16 17, 2010.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *