The DGAC plays a central role in the world of air transport. A directorate of the French Ministry of Transport (Ministère des Transports, de l'Equipement, du Tourisme et de la Mer), its foremost missions are to guarantee the safety and security of air transport in French airspace and at airports and aerodromes.
The DPAC, the DGAC's Department for Aeronautical Programmes and Co-operation, defines and implements public funding policy on research and development in civil aviation, and is also responsible for promoting the sector's interests at European and international level.
The main objective of research and development activities of the DGAC is to anticipate and accompany the significant growth of air traffic as well as maintaining traffic safety, protecting the environment and sustaining construction. To reach these aims, research focuses on three main goals:
- Better acceptability of noise and air emissions;
- Reduction in conception/design costs, production and operating costs;
- Increasing operational capacity.
This programme covers 5 themes:
- Aeronautic civil construction: research in this field aims at improving safety, performance, comfort and profitability of aeroplanes, helicopters, propeller systems and their electronic and mechanical equipment. This theme focuses mainly on aerodynamics, acoustics, thermodynamics, combustion, electronic and informatic on-board systems. 5 to 10 years can separate the first ideas and their real applications. Basic research is generally done by universities or specialised institutes, then companies in this sector undertake industrial research.
- Communications: mainly air-ground communications. These are currently based on vocal communications. In 1999, changes in the frequency characteristics offers broader communication possibilities. In the near future, due to the reliability of digital connections, the quality of transmissions will be greatly improved.
- Navigation: several studies focus on precision problems, availability and integrity of GPS.
- Radar control.
- Air traffic management: air traffic is increasing significantly. Research in this theme aims at increasing air capacity while maintaining safety and costs. It encompasses the following subjects: reinforcement of safety, optimisation of air traffic management and traffic flows, improvment of automated control aids.