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HANGAR TALK


opportunity that will challenge innovative companies to expand their workforce and help us modernize our National Airspace System,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Under NextGen, air travelers will be able to fly to their destinations safer and faster.”


FAA Awards NextGen


Engineering Contracts Worth Up To $4.4 Billion


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently awarded three separate Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) contracts totaling up to $4.4 billion over 10 years. Under the contracts, the companies will perform work that will demonstrate NextGen procedures in real time on a large scale within the current air traffic system.


“NextGen is an economic


Boeing, General Dynamics and ITT were awarded the con- tracts worth up to $4.4 billion.


tions, including the use of air- craft as flying laboratories, to see how NextGen concepts, proce- dures and technologies can be integrated into the current sys- tem.


The three contracts, like one for $280 million awarded last month to CSSI, Inc., are part of System Engineering 2020 (SE2020). Two more contracts are expected under SE2020, which has a ceiling of $7 bil- lion, making it the largest set of awards in FAA history. Boeing, General Dynamics and ITT will conduct large-scale demonstra-


“NextGen is an intricate net- work of systems that involves everything from air traffic con- trol to weather,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We need to have the right tools to make sure we integrate all these different components safe- ly and smoothly.” The FAA will work with these companies to develop and demonstrate new procedures in four dimensions, adding the element of time to the current three-dimensional profile of an aircraft’s latitude, longitude and altitude. Introducing time to this profile means that under NextGen, pilots and controllers will know not only where an air- craft is with greater precision but when the aircraft is supposed to be there. Unlike the current sys- tem of “roads in the sky,” 4-D operations will allow aircraft to fly from Point A to Point B more directly, while taking into consideration factors such as


heavy traffic and bad weather. Other work to be performed by Boeing, General Dynamics and ITT includes the develop- ment and rollout of modern- ized weather services. NextGen weather imaging will allow pilots and controllers to see bad weather stratified by different altitudes, giving them a more detailed and accurate picture of severe weather conditions. The improved information also means that pilots and con- trollers won’t have to interpret weather information, allowing them to plan safer routes.


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