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What is SWIM?

The System Wide Information Management (SWIM) is an advanced technology program designed to facilitate greater sharing of Air Traffic Management (ATM) system information, such as airport operational status, weather information, flight data, status of special use airspace, and National Air Space (NAS) restrictions. SWIM will support current and future NAS programs by providing a flexible and secure information management architecture for sharing NAS information. SWIM will use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software to support a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) that will facilitate the addition of new systems and data exchanges, and increase common situational awareness.

How did SWIM originate?

Eurocontrol initially presented the SWIM concept to the FAA in 1997, where it has been under development ever since. In 2005, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Global Air Traffic Management (ATM) Operational Concept adopted the SWIM concept to promote information-based ATM integration. SWIM is now part of development projects in both the United States (NextGen) and the European Union (Single European Sky ATM Research - SESAR).

What are the objectives of SWIM?

The primary objective of the SWIM Program is to improve the FAA�s ability to manage the efficient flow of information through the NAS. This includes: 1) reducing costs for all NAS users to acquire NAS data, 2) improving shared situational awareness among the NAS user community, and 3) providing secure data exchange among the NAS user community that meets current FAA security standards.

What are the benefits of SWIM?

SWIM supports the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-endorsed Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) goal to simplify processes and unify work across agencies and within the lines of business of the federal government. The SWIM use of SOA technology allows software applications in the NAS to interact with one another through information services that can be accessed without knowledge of another application�s underlying platform implementation. This simplifies interface requirements to existing NAS systems and ensures new systems can be built with minimum technology (hardware, software, and data definition) constraints. Thus, NAS development and implementation costs and risks for new applications will be lower. SWIM also enables the transition to net-centric NAS operations, and from tactical conflict managementto strategic, trajectory-based operations.

SWIM is part of the NextGen portfolio of programs and is critical to ensuring all stakeholders can communicate with each other. For example, SWIM will allow airline operations, air traffic managers and controllers, and the military to share information in near real time. SWIM makes it possible to share this type of information in a more uniform, consistent manner so that as NextGen systems are developed, participation becomes easier for the NAS community.

Why is SWIM important for 21st century aviation?

In the past, connecting two systems required a fixed network connection and custom, point-to-point, application-level data interfaces. Current NAS operations depend upon these legacy information systems. The FAA has identified a need to move away from the proliferation of unique, point-to-point application interfaces. The following five shortfalls capture the key deficiencies in the FAA�s current approach to sharing and managing information:

  • Costs to develop, test, deploy, and support new interfaces and applications are too high
  • The NAS is not an agile air traffic system
  • Data sharing in the NAS is labor-intensive
  • Timely access to common data is lacking in the NAS
  • The underlying tools to support becoming a performance�based organization are currently lacking

The transformation to NextGen requires programs and technologies that provide more efficient operations, including streamlined data communications capabilities. The SWIM program is an integral part of that transformation that will connect FAA systems. The SWIM program also will enable interaction with other members of the decision-making community including other government agencies, air navigation service providers, and airspace users.

Will the SWIM program improve aviation safety?

Yes. SWIM will help improve aviation safety through increased common situational awareness. The program allows more decision makers to access the same information. This will provide consistent information to different users (pilots, controllers, dispatchers) that supports proactive decision-making.

Will SWIM help reduce passenger delays and flight congestion?

Yes. SWIM is essential to providing the most efficient use of airspace, managing air traffic around weather, and increasing common situational awareness on the ground. SWIM core services will enable systems to request and receive information when they need it, subscribe for automatic receipt, and publish information and services as appropriate. This will provide for the sharing of information across different systems. This will allow airspace users and controllers to access the most current information that may be affecting their area of responsibility in a more efficient manner. SWIM will improve decision-making and streamline information sharing for improved planning and execution. This may result in fewer delays at major airports. It also may help reduce fuel costs for airlines by avoiding unnecessary reroutes around severe weather by providing the latest information, including more efficient alternatives.

Will the SWIM reduce costs or save taxpayer money?

Yes. SWIM will reduce infrastructure costs by decreasing the number of unique interfaces between systems. Initially, SWIM will provide a common interface framework, reducing the operation and maintenance costs of current interfaces. New systems will interface with each other via SWIM-compliant interfaces, thereby reducing future data interface development costs. Ultimately, redundant data sources will no longer be needed, and associated systems will be decommissioned.

How do I find out about SWIM services that already exist or are planned for the future?

The SWIM Program Office maintains news announcements on the SWIM website at For more information on planned services please refer to the Fact Sheets posted on the website.

What is net-centricity? How does it relate to SWIM?

Net-centricity refers to an evolving, complex community of people, information, and services interconnected by a communication network to optimize resources and maximize benefits. Net-centricity includes a shift from standardized, predefined point-to-point interfaces to a many-to-many exchange of data, thereby enabling many users and applications to leverage the same data. The goal of net-centricity is to provide information and capabilities that are readily visible, accessible, and understandable to known and potential consumers. SWIM is contributing to a net-centric environment by making it easier for users to share NAS information.

How is the Service Container being used for SWIM Segment 1? What is the current status?

In SWIM Segment 1, selected NAS programs, also referred to as SWIM Implementing Programs (SIPs), are delegated responsibility for implementing SWIM-provided service container software, SOA-based standards, and common core services based on SWIM program-provided technical guidance and governance. In this approach, the SWIM Program does not deploy any servers or software on the operational NAS network. SIPs implement and administer servers that host SWIM-provided service container software. NAS systems own and manage the business services and determine where and how service container software is deployed, with Governance provided by the SWIM program.

The Service Container software is provided to each of the SIPs and integrated into their code as part of the SIP development -- this serves as one aspect of SWIM compliance. The Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) & Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS) prototypes are currently using the Service Container. All services in development today are integrating the Service Container into their applications.