NextGen Integration & Evaluation Capability - Laboratory Capabilities

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The NextGen Integration & Evaluation Capability (NIEC) Functional Block Diagram, represented in the graphic below shows the building blocks of the NIEC. The light blue area shows the NIEC's core capabilities. The tan area within the light blue area, represents the NIEC's multi purpose area, which has live data feeds Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B), Traffic Flow Management (TFM), and weather) and a research Traffic Management Unit consisting of Time Based Flow Management (TBFM) and TFM. The medium blue area within the light blue area represents the Distributed Environment for Simulation, Rapid Engineering, and Experimentation (DESIREE) a simulation platform for Air Traffic Control (ATC) ground systems. The green area represents the NextGen Prototyping Network, which connects to external facilities and networks such as Defense Research and Engineering Network and System Wide Information Management's (SWIM) NAS Enterprise Messaging Service (NEMS). The pink area provides some of the external facilities that the NIEC can connect to via the NextGen Prototyping Network. The purple area highlights the Concepts and System Integration (CSI)(ANG-E14) Research & Development (R&D) labs. The orange area showcases some of the internal Technical Center labs that the NIEC is connected with. The gray area highlights the Target Generation Facility (TGF) simulation capabilities for aircraft, pilots, radar, and ADS-B.

NIEC Characteristics Include:

  • A real-time, rapid prototyping and simulation environment that simulates the NAS while integrating NextGen enabling components
  • Representation and integration across multiple NAS domains in one facility
  • Inclusion and integration of future capabilities
  • Technical Center and external laboratory integration capabilities
  • Voice Communications capabilities
  • Audio, video, and data recording capabilities
  • Flexibility to support multiple concurrent studies
  • Certified ISO 9001:2015 laboratory

Simulation Engines


  • The TGF is a cross-cutting infrastructure that is capable of simulating air and ground traffic.
  • The TGF can drive terminal and en route laboratories as well as developmental laboratories.


  • DESIREE provides an Air Traffic automation simulation capability
  • Emulates the Graphical User Interface and logic processing used in most ATC systems.
  • Able to interface with other NAS systems for inclusion within the simulation environment
    • User Interface prototyping of Data Communications functionality
    • Support for Area Navigation (RNAV) program, and associated conformance monitoring
    • All standard ATC symbology and functionality, e.g. Halos, history tracks, Conflict Alerting
    • Expanded Data collection capability
    • Support for Supervisor Station including TFM emulation

These simulators work together to immerse the subject into a realistic environment that can emulate the past, present, or future air traffic environments.

Data Collection Capabilities

The NIEC has world-class data collection capabilities for simulations such as:

  • Audio, video, and data recordings
  • Communications (e.g., the average duration of air-ground communications, communication between controller and pilots)
  • Air traffic safety and efficiency parameters (e.g., number of aircraft in the sector)
  • Workload ratings (using the Air Traffic Workload Input Technique via the Workload Assessment Keypad device)
  • User-system interaction (e.g., number of data entry errors)
  • Performance monitoring

NIEC live data feeds:

Name Description Supplier
WMSCR The Weather Message Switching Center Replacement System (WMSCR) collects, processes, stores, and disseminates textual aviation weather products such as pilot reports and Altimeter data. SWIM R&D NEMS
STDDS SWIM Terminal Data Distribution System (STDDS) provides surface movement data Airport Surface Detection Equipment–Model X (ASDE-X), Runway Visual Range, and a variety of departure event data SWIM R&D NEMS
ITWS Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) provides a variety of weather information in graphic and textual forms, such as windshear and microburst predictions, storm cell and lightning information, and terminal area winds aloft SWIM R&D NEMS
TFMS Traffic Flow Management System (TFMS) will provide Aircraft Situation Display (ASDI) data, which will include aircraft scheduling, routing, and positional information SWIM R&D NEMS
SFDPS SWIM Flight Data Publication Service (SFDPS) will provide a variety of En Route flight data, such as flight plans, beacon codes, and handoff status. SFDPS will also disseminate data regarding airspaces, such as Sector configuration data, route status, Special Activity Airspace status, and altimeter settings. SWIM R&D NEMS
TBFM TBFM will provide a variety of aircraft metering information, airport configuration, and adaptation data. SWIM R&D NEMS
ADS-B ADS-B is a precise satellite-based surveillance system. ADS-B Out uses GPS technology to determine an aircraft's location, airspeed and other data, and broadcasts that information plus weather and traffic position information. Surveillance Broadcast Services Laboratory
TFM The system receives information about scheduled flights, forecasts demand several hours ahead, and helps resolve congestion issues. TFM Production Center
ITWS Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) Situation display is a legacy system at terminals that provides weather products such as 6-level precipitation out to 200 nm, storm motion, one-hour convective forecast, wind shear, microbursts, etc. NextGen Weather Evaluation Capability
WARP Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) is a briefing terminal for En Route weather. NextGen Weather Evaluation Capability
CoSPA Consolidated Storm Prediction for Aviation (CoSPA) combines Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS) products, ITWS, Convective Significant Meteorological Information, and other weather forecast products for forecasts of convective storms out to 6 hours. NextGen Weather Evaluation Capability
CSS-Wx Common Support Services–Weather (CSS-Wx) will modernize, centralize and streamline the distribution of weather within the NAS. CSS-Wx will replace NEMS-based Service-Oriented Architecture Services existing data feeds from ITWSCIWS, Enhanced Weather Information Network Server Dissemination, WMSCR, and WARP NextGen Weather Evaluation Capability

NIEC 3D View Layout

Capabilities of the Five Areas of NIEC

Last updated: Friday, June 14, 2024