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4 Dimension Contracts - Guidance and Control

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€5 472 611
EU Contribution
€3 947 280
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Deployment planning/Financing/Market roll-out
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

Aim of the project was to go deeper into the definition of the '4D contract concept' that had been developed in the FP6 IFATS (Innovative Future Air Transport System) project and was mentioned in major research programmes and projects such as SESAR (IP3), ASAS (Airborne Separation Assistance System) and NEXTGEN.


The 4DCo-GC project aimed at exploring the concept of '4D Contract guidance and control of the aircraft' as a step change in air transport operations by providing a more radical and environmentally efficient solution for management of the airspace. Scientific objectives of 4DCo-GC were:

  • To model 4D contract concepts (on strategic, tactical and emergency levels);
  • To develop the algorithms (strategic, tactical planning), process and functions (failure management, emergency separation) needed to use 4D contracts;
  • To define and develop a global tool architecture to demonstrate and analyse the key operating advantages of the 4D contract concept, including man's role;
  • To elaborate an assessment methodology and metrics to qualify and quantify 4D contract characteristics and performances for control and guidance of the aircraft;
  • To perform a real-time assessment of 4D contract concepts of operations - organise dissemination and demonstration workshops in front of an external audience;
  • To derive, from this qualification and quantification work, recommendations for future 4DT system development.

Project 4DCo-GC brought together the expertise of 13 European and associated partners coming from 7 countries. The project was built on the results of several past EU programmes and projects.

The main expected results from the 4DCo-GC project were technological components (software/hardware/architectures) and recommendations for future 4D trajectory guidance and control systems, addressing several priorities of ACARE. Regarding the short/middle-term expected evolutions of the European air transport system, 4DCo-GC was fully aligned with the orientation of SESAR, and particularly the so-called 'ATM Target Concept'.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Specific funding programme


4DCO-GC has effectively advanced the definition of multiple systems to enable more automated aircraft operation, from collision avoidance to health monitoring. If exploited, the results would increase savings and enhance sustainability thanks to more efficient travel. Last but not least, the 4D contract concept will validate Europe's leadership in air transport and propel the aviation industry to new heights.

Technical Implications

The project resulted in the following findings:

Aircraft guidance and control

  • It is possible for aircraft to follow 4D contract with a satisfactory efficiency;
  • Ability to recover from technical problem - Aircraft can self-generate an alternative trajectory;
  • Optimisation of trajectory within the 4D contracts - Theoretically feasible, with significant fuel savings (several %).

4D contracts - planning

  • It is possible to generate 4D contracts at European level, for one entire day - Even for more than twice the current traffic; Simulation of traffic over the whole of Europe is difficult due to required computation resources;
  • It is possible to optimise the arrival and departure sequences, to a certain extent - Integration of optimal arrival/departure sequences within the 'air picture' would require additional research.

4D contracts - execution

  • The size of the bubbles has an impact on the number of necessary replanning - Increase of 'thickness' (z axis) enables a reduction in the number of replanning more effectively than the other axes;
  • Replanning involves a maximum of 2 aircraft - Most of the time, only own ship contract modification is enough; Algorithm works with more, but this situation never occurs;
  • 'One of the biggest problems for all scenarios was to find/create a conflict'! - Provided simplified wind assumptions;
  • Contract potential non-compliance can be forecast - Maximum time horizon of 10 minutes;
  • Degraded / emergency situations can be managed - Need to combine several failures to trigger the 4DLC.

Policy objectives

An efficient and integrated mobility system:

  • Secure Transport
  • Acting on transport safety: saving thousands of lives


Lead Organisation
Office National D' Etudes Et De Recherches Aérospatiales
29, avenue de la Division Leclerc, BP72 CHÂTILLON CEDEX, France
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€687 636
Partner Organisations
Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.
Ben Gurion International Airport, Lod 70100, Israel
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€144 505
Stichting Centrum Voor De Ontwikkeling Van Transport En Logistiek In Europa
Van Nelleweg 1, 3044 BC Rotterdam, Netherlands
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€562 775
Thales Six Gts France Sas
Avenue Des Louvresses 4, 92700 Colombes, France
EU Contribution
€315 765
Deutsches Zentrum Fr Luft Und Raumfahrt E.v
Linder Hoehe, 51147 KOELN, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€443 430
Federal State Unitary Enterprise Aerohydrodynamic Institute
1, Zhykovsky str., ZHUKOVSKY, MOSCOW REG, 140180, Russia
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€378 500
Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali Scpa
Via Maiorise s/n, 81043 CAPUA (CE), Italy
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€269 413
Alenia Aermacchi Spa
Viale Dell'aeronautica Snc, 80038 Pomigliano D'arco (Na), Italy
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€114 953
Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology
Senate Building Technion City, Haifa 32000, Israel
EU Contribution
€183 200
Ecole Nationale De L Aviation Civile
Avenue Edouard Belin 7, 31055 31055, France
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€250 426
Erdyn Consultants
Rue Vergniaud 23, 75013 Paris, France
EU Contribution
€215 618
Monitor Soft
Warshavskoe Shosse 59 Bld.1, Moscow, 115230, Russia
EU Contribution
€202 500
Panepistimio Patron
University Campus- Rio, 26500 Patras, Greece
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€178 560


Technology Theme
Aircraft operations and safety
4-dimensional airspace management
Development phase

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