ATM and Airports

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore recently launched one of the world’s largest and most advanced air traffic control simulators. The new tower and radar simulators run on simulation software designed by the NLR – Netherlands Aerospace Centre. The software is from NARSIM*, NLR’s air traffic control simulator.

Singapore is a small country but of strategic importance for the busy air traffic flows to and from its neighbouring countries, including Malaysia. Singapore’s air traffic control covers the South China Sea, where there is presently little radar coverage. With the recently opened facility, NTU researchers aim to accelerate and support ATM innovations, which will allow them to play a leading role in researching the design of the region’s air space.


In using the NLR’s simulation software, NTU now has a highly flexible research facility at its disposal. Researchers can adapt the entire facility, which could include expanding existing and new tools, altering radar screens or adapting procedure and routes.
Erik-Jan Hartlieb of the NLR: “It is remarkable that NTU can now set up the entire facility itself. They have full access to the source code, and, consequently, NTU is not dependent on suppliers to adapt certain tools or completely develop new ones.”
NTU has set up the facility in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and DLR, the German Aerospace Center, who established the design and requirements for the simulators. Reasearch topics slated to be part of the future program include flow management, route optimisation, UAS integration, human factor research, taxi guidance and airborne-assured separation.

The NLR is pleased that NTU has chosen NARSIM for its air traffic control simulator. NLR representatives have meanwhile led courses and trainings at NTU, so that NTU can get to work using NARSIM. NTU can also turn to NLR for any future support (updates and questions). DLR in collaboration with NLR, set up a demonstration environment for the Changi tower and radar air traffic control.

User community

NTU is also now a member of the NARSIM user community, joining NLR, DLR, and LFV, the Swedish air traffic control organisation. The aim of this community is to jointly expand and improve the NARSIM simulation software. Participants learn from each other’s NARSIM simulations, ATC tools, concepts, airspace design and ATC procedures, and they can also use each other’s NARSIM developments. Partly owing to the compiled knowledge of the members, NARSIM will continuously evolve to higher levels.

*About NARSIM:

NARSIM is the NLR’s realistic and real-time simulator that simulates the air traffic control environment. It consists of NARSIM Radar (air traffic centre simulator) and NARSIM Tower (tower control simulator). Using NARSIM, the NLR develops, tests and validates new operational ATC concepts, tools, procedures and addresses the human factor in air traffic control. The NARSIM software is fully scalable and can be used from a single laptop to a large-scale integrated radar and tower environment with multiple workstations and controllers pilots and outside view. More info: