NATS military training suite

Case Study Military Training Suite for NATS


Thinking Space Systems have provided control room consoles for nine operators, within the new Military Training Suite (MTS) at NATS control centre in Swanwick, Hampshire. The nine consoles consist of an instructor position, with the eight remaining consoles in a horseshoe shape around the room, with a built-in media wall and specialist lighting to enhance the environment.


NATS provide air traffic navigation services to aircraft flying through UK-controlled airspace and at numerous UK and international airports. The new Military Training Suite (MTS) has been established to allow the Military Customer at NATS Swanwick to initially develop Methods of Operation and Training objectives for the new ATC platform that NATS is delivering as part of SESAR.


Thinking Space were tasked by NATS to provide custom furniture solutions to optimise training for ATC personnel. Each training position had a list of equipment required, which was to be either located above, on or below the desk. This included 75” touchscreens, headsets, footswitches and monitors. Thinking Space created a design proposal to include these features, whilst creating an informal learning environment with supervision in the room space. An added requirement was to create a solution for more formal learning, such as exam style conditions. Therefore, removable acoustic panels added between each desk were incorporated into the design.

Thinking Space provided 2D drawings and 3D visualisations for approval, so the client could ensure the learning environment met their requirements.


Every operator position is adjoined to the next, to create a horseshoe effect in the room. Between each operator, removable acoustic partitions have been provided, and clever storage racking in the room allows for the partitions to be stored when not in use.

At the head of the horseshoe, a built-in media wall accommodating two large screens and low-level storage, is the focus of the room. NATS colour scheme choice for the room was a calming green, therefore under-script LED lighting to match was provided for every console. This creates a calming glow within the room.

As well as Novus desk monitor mounts for the one large and two smaller screens required for each operator, the Novus Attenzia HCL Active floor standing lamp has been provided for the instructor position, which is neatly located within the console.

Finally, instead of the standard vent designs on the removable console panels, a personalised propeller blade has been adopted instead.

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"Thinking Space Systems really listened to what it was we wanted to create in both look and feel. The design work was essential – we worked collaboratively to achieve the best room layout and design for the new training suite. There were great little touches, such as the propeller design on the panels and green LED lights under the consoles to help create a wow factor. Everyone’s been really impressed with the result. It was a pleasure to work with Thinking Space on this".

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