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Call: Smart applications for transport- SESAR-DEMONSTRATORS A - works

Acronym CEF-T
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Connecting Europe Facility for Transport"

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport is the funding instrument to realise European transport infrastructure policy. It aims at supporting investments in building new transport infrastructure in Europe or rehabilitating and upgrading the existing one.

Trans-European Networks for Transport (TEN-T) policy objectives foresee:

  • completion by 2030 of the Core Network, structured around nine multimodal Core Network Corridors.
  • completion by 2050 of the Comprehensive Network in order to facilitate accessibility to all European regions

CEF Transport focuses on cross-border projects and projects aiming at removing bottlenecks or bridging missing links in various sections of the Core Network and on the Comprehensive Network (link), as well as for horizontal priorities such as traffic management systems.

CEF Transport also supports innovation in the transport system in order to improve the use of infrastructure, reduce the environmental impact of transport, enhance energy efficiency and increase safety.

Link Link to Programme
Smart applications for transport- SESAR-DEMONSTRATORS A - works
Description of call
"Smart applications for transport- SESAR-DEMONSTRATORS A - works"


The objective of the demonstrations under this topic is to contribute to achieve the objective of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 set by the European Green Deal, in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement. This implies the need for aviation to intensify its efforts to reduce emissions, in line with the targets set in Flightpath 2050.

To this end, a set of operational measures to improve the fuel efficiency of flights will have to be put in place. At the same time, to ensure sustainable air traffic growth, it is necessary to speed up the modernisation of the air infrastructure to offer more capability and capacity, making it more resilient to future traffic demand and adaptable through more flexible air traffic management procedures. Furthermore, reducing aircraft noise impacts and improving air quality will remain a priority around airports

  • Environment: proposed operational measures shall enable gate-to-gate optimal flight trajectories and demonstrate improvements on fuel efficiency of flights, and thus CO2 (and non-CO2) reductions.
  • Capacity and operational efficiency: the higher level of automation supporting the solutions under demonstration will make it possible to go beyond the current limits of sector capacity due to controller workload, which will allow optimal and environmentally- friendly flight trajectories.
  • Cost-efficiency: saving fuel for airspace users will reduce CO2 emissions and related costs (ETS).
  • Safety: Safety levels are maintained or improved in case of a higher level of automation.

The objective is to achieve, for the scope under this topic, a TRL-8 maturity level (“actual system completed and “mission qualified” through test and demonstration in an operational environment”).

The Digital Sky Demonstrator instrument will be closely connected to the standardisation and regulatory framework, and will provide a platform for a critical mass of “early movers” representing at least 20% of the targeted operating environment to accelerate market uptake.


Themes and priorities:

To successfully address the expected outcomes, all or some of the following sub-R&I needs should be addressed:

  • Formation flight demonstrators: the novel airborne station keeping capabilities in support of the Wave Energy Retrieval conceptwill allow aircraft to cruise closely behind another aircraft on the same route, thereby realising fuel savings. This activity will contribute to the operational validation of the station keeping capabilities and pave the way to their certification and their market uptake. The scope should also address the airborne systems and ATC systems and ATC operational procedures. It is expected that these demonstrations will allow for a limited local initial implementation of this concept that will already realize environmental benefits (R&I need: formation flight).
  • Integrated 4D for green trajectories: this activity will demonstrate the operational benefits of ADS-C when integrated in the ground systems beyond the 2D flight plan consistency check, with a focus on the environmental benefits, based for example on facilitating airline’s preferred trajectory using the TOD information, improved arrival management, enhanced vertical clearances delivered via R/T or CPDLC. The demonstration may combine live trials for concepts having reached TRL6 maturity in Wave 1 with real time simulations for the more advanced concepts. The potential scope includes alternative ATN B2 standards (ATN B2 Revision A) and/or non-European airborne platforms operating in Europe (potentially connecting via VDL2/IPS), military aircraft and business aviation aircraft. The distribution of the EPP data though the ADS-C common service between ATSUs and to NM and its operational use in support of network operations is also in scope (R&I need: Optimum Green Trajectories).
  • Satellite-based innovation for green trajectories: this activity will demonstrate the environmental benefits of introducing direct-controller-pilot-communication (DCPC) via VHF voice (with the ground antennas being substituted by LEO satellite antennas, but no change to the aircraft avionics) in combination with satellite-based ADS-B, satellite-based VHF-voice and potentially satellite-based VDL2 in order to dramatically increase the airspace capacity, thereby enabling AU to fly closer to their preferred routes. The activity includes both the technical demonstration and an initial assessment of the potential for reducing separation minima (building on the current work in ICAO on reduction of separation based on satellite-based ADS-B without DCPC, but now adding the DCPC element) and a quantification of the environmental benefits. The use of CPDLC or ADS-C via LEO satellite based VDL2 (IPS and/or OSI based) could be included in the scope of this demonstration. The activity must contribute to ICAO and all relevant standardization and international coordination groups (R&I need: Optimum Green Trajectories).
  • Green approaches through second runway aiming point and increased glide-slope concepts: these demonstrations aim at increasing the available approach vertical path options to European airports; this increased flexibility will allow airports to reduce the environmental impact on the airport neighbouring communities. These procedures can be based on basic RNP, or require the addition of SBAS and/or GBAS. The demonstration will take place in a real environment and make an assessment of the environmental benefits of the new procedures (R&I need: Advanced RnP green approaches).
  • Green approaches through GNSS as primary navigation means with reversion scenario in operational Environment: this activity will demonstrate the environmental benefits brought by the advanced use of GNSS in the approach phase of flight, including the consideration of reversion scenarios; the scope includes GBAS - GAST D (Cat II/III) GPS and upgradable to Galileo, SBAS / GBAS Complementarity, reversion from GNSS to ILS and from GNSS area navigation to A-PNT (modular A-PNT and multi-DME). The demonstration should investigate the ATC procedures for vectoring to join the GNSS procedures, so as to develop rules as those existing for the ILS, e.g. vector must be maximum XX degrees to intercept the RNP approach YY NM before the start of the FAP or before the beginning of an RF turn; the potential need for new phraseology (e.g. Established-on-RNP phraseology) should be assessed (R&I need: Advanced RNP green approaches).
  • Green approaches through improved speed and aircraft configuration management on arrival: this demonstration aims at investigating the impact of the throttle, high-lift-device and landing gear extension management on the environment. It will aim at demonstrating quick-win airborne and ground procedures that reduce the impact on the environment without the need for an update to the avionics or ground systems (R&I need: Advanced RnP green approaches).
  • Green climb-via and descend-via procedures including descent-via with re-cruise options: this demonstration builds on the SESAR SES-award winning Optimized Descent Profiles demonstration. It will support the implementation of the 2020 European CDO/CCO Action Plan recommendation to implement the ICAO descend-via procedures, potentially in combination with advanced FMS descent profile management functions, e.g. re-cruise FMS function. The focus of the demonstration will be on addressing the ground and airborne challenges in order to allow the widespread adoption of the descend via procedures in Europe and the adoption of the re-cruise concept in order to mitigate the negative impact on the environment of early descent clearances (R&I need: Environmentally optimised climb and descent operations (OCO and ODO)).
  • Initial ATN B2 datalink green trajectory revision concepts: this activity will demonstrate of the uplink via ATN B2 CPDLC of an ATC clearance containing a revision of the 2D route or a vertical clearance with a vertical constraint. The activity should consider both ATN B2 and ATN B2 Revision A standards (with DRNP). These clearances will be auto-loaded in the FMS. The demonstration will make an assessment of the environmental benefits and of the impact on the flight-crew workload and crew resource management (R&I need: Optimum Green Trajectories).
  • TBO for green trajectories in the planning phase (FF-ICE 1): this activity will demonstrate the environmental benefits of the enhancements to the planning phase brought by the FF-ICE 1 concepts, in particular the extended flight plan. The demonstration should in particular develop and demonstrate concepts for allowing AU to load less fuel thanks to the reduced uncertainty for the AU, potentially incorporating information like planned departure and arrival runways, foreseen SID and STAR, intelligent prediction of ASMA time (prediction derived from demand data using machine learning), etc. (R&I need: Optimum Green Trajectories).
  • Green taxiing: this element aims at implementing reduced emissions or emissions free taxi operations at medium and large European airports, applying any of the available technologies (engine-off taxi out and taxi-in, taxibots, auxiliary engines in the undercarriage), or a combination thereof. The demonstrators focus will be on addressing the ATM aspects as required to make it possible to scale up the operations to all AU at the airport. Attention will be paid to consider both nominal and adverse conditions, in particular with de-icing process where relevant. These demonstrators will pave the way for the large-scale implementation across Europe (R&I need: Accelerating decarbonisation through operational and business incentivisation).
  • Integrated ATM/apron management for green surface management: this element is based on the use of cameras and machine learning/artificial intelligence to optimise turn around operations, linking landside and airside processes to increase predictability of operations, improve on time performance and optimise the use of resources such as parking stands. The concept includes the development of an operational strategy based on environmental criteria to optimise operations and mitigate environmental impact. Monitoring and promoting the reduction of operations which may have a negative environmental impact such as the use of APUs should also need be addressed. (R&I need: Accelerating decarbonisation through operational and business incentivisation).
  • Aviation-induced cloudiness (AIC) data collection and analysis: This demonstration will collect equip aircraft with advanced sensors in order to collect data relevant for the assessment of the non-CO2 impact of aviation, e.g. humidity, temperature, cloudiness…and integrate it with satellite imagery data and data from other MET sources/databases. The aim is to set up a data collection and data analysis concept that can continue beyond the life of the demonstration, in order to support the continuous assessment of the evolution of the atmospheric metrics that are relevant to better understand the non-CO2 impact of aviation and the impact of the policy actions (R&I need: Non-CO2 impacts of aviation).

Activities that can be funded:

The activities shall address up to TRL-8. This covers:

  • TRL-7 System demonstration in an operational environment (ground, airborne or space): The system is at or near scale of the operational system, with most functions available for demonstration and test and with EASA proof of concept authorisation if necessary. Well integrated with collateral and ancillary systems, although limited documentation available.
  • TRL-8 Actual system completed and "mission qualified" through test and demonstration in an operational environment (ground or airborne): End of system development. Fully integrated with relevant operational systems (people, processes, hardware and software), most user documentation, training documentation, and maintenance documentation completed. All functionality tested in simulated and operational scenarios. Verification, Validation (V&V) and Demonstration completed, regulatory needs and standards are finalised.

Standardisation and regulatory activities

The demonstrators shall be closely connected to the standardisation and regulatory activities. Early engagement with the regulator during the demonstration process can significantly de-risk subsequent issues related to regulatory needs, approvals, safety assessments etc. for the SESAR solutions under scope. With this in mind EASA and/or NSA involvement through the partners shall be envisaged at the level of advising on the suitability of the safety assessments as well as risk and hazard identification and mitigation approaches required for the solution. The potential need for future rulemaking to support the eventual implementation of the solution shall be identified along with the development of standards through the EUROCAE process. The work of the project shall then be appropriately focused on delivering the material that could form the basis for this standardisation and regulatory development.

The following two specific deliverables addressing the regulatory activities and standards will have to be provided by the Digital Sky Demonstrators in order to guarantee the adequate consideration by the projects of the needs to coordinate closely with EASA and EUROCAE:

  • REG: proposed SESAR Acceptable Means of Compliance to EASA to illustrate means to establish compliance with the Basic Regulation and its Implementing Rules;
  • STAND: proposed SESAR Input to Standardisation activities (e.g. EUROCAE).

Airspace Users contribution

The proposed topic will require the contribution from Airspace Users (AUs). It is expected that the proposals will therefore include the required AU contribution.

Expected Impact:

Demonstrators will take place in live operational environments and put to the test the concepts, services, technologies and standards necessary to deliver the digital European sky. This will help create buy-in from the supervisory authorities and operational staff, providing tangible evidence of the performance benefits in terms of environment, capacity, safety, security and affordability.

The establishment of a Europe-wide network of large-scale digital sky demonstrators offers a viable means to build confidence and bridge from research, through industrialisation to implementation.

The Digital Sky Demonstrators shall deliver their full results no later than end of Q3 2025. Projects should normally range up to 36 months (extensions are possible, if duly justified and through an amendment).

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Mobility & Transport/Traffic , Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Green Technologies & Green Deal
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), Public Services, Other, National Government, Start Up Company, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details Proposals shall be submitted by:
  • one or more EU Member States 
  • by international organisations, joint undertakings, or public or private undertakings or bodies established in Member States  (with the agreement of the Member States concerned).

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
    • third countries associated to the CEF.

Specific cases:

  • Entities from other countries are exceptionally eligible for projects of common interest in the field of transport, energyand digital and for cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action.
  • Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legalpersonality separate from that of the natural person).
  • International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.
  • Entities without legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guaranteesfor the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
  • EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Recurring Call No
Project duration max 36 months
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system
  • mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
    • detailed budget table per WP (template available in the Submission System)
    • activity reports of last year
    • list of previous projects (key projects for the last 4 years) (template available in Part B)
    • timetable/Gantt chart
    • agreement by the concerned Member States (letters of support)
    • environmental compliance file (for works and for studies with physical interventions)
Page limit - part B: 120 pages
Type of Funding Grants
Financial details

The available call budget for Actions related to smart and interoperable mobility – General envelope (CEF-T-2021-SIMOBGEN) is EUR 400,000,000.

The costs will be reimbursed at the funding rates fixed in the Grant Agreement (maximum 50% for the costs of studies, maximum 70% for the costs of works in outermost regions and maximum 50% for all other costs categories (‘project funding rate’)).

Maximum EU-contribution: For the Digital Sky Demonstrators on Aviation Green Deal the maximum EU requested contribution per proposal is limited at EUR 15 Mio.

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.
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