NATS military training suite

Military training suite for NATS case study


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


NATS provides 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.


NATS tasked Thinking Space to provide custom furniture solutions to optimize 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, while 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 visualizations 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. Removable acoustic partitions have been provided between each operator, 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 that accommodates two large screens and low-level storage is the focus of the room. The color scheme NATS chose for the room was a calming green; therefore, underscript 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 was 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 personalized propeller blade was 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".