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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Editor's Note: Engineering NextGen

By Bill Carey

With less outside acknowledgement than one might expect, FAA over the second quarter awarded six major contracts for engineering work supporting the Next Generation Air Transportation System. The Systems Engineering 2020 contracts are described as landmark awards worth potentially $6.5 billion over 10 years the largest set of awards in FAA history.

FAA in April awarded an industry team led by CSSI Inc., of Washington, D.C., a contract valued at $280 million; in May three contracts to teams led by Boeing, General Dynamics and ITT worth $4.4 billion; and in June two contracts to teams led by Metron Aviation, of Dulles, Va., and Booz Allen Hamilton, of McLean, Va., worth $1.15 billion and $711 million, respectively. The Metron Aviation award was described as the largest single award to a small business in FAA’s 52-year history.

Boeing briefed reporters on its award, at $1.7 billion the largest overall, in a June teleconference.

SE2020 employs an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle, enabling FAA to solicit “best value” solutions from industry teams responding to agency task orders, explained Greg Deiter, vice president with Boeing Defense & Government Services. Boeing’s team will work with FAA to conduct large-scale demonstrations, including the use of aircraft as flying laboratories, to test NextGen concepts, procedures and technologies, he said.

Primary focuses of the Boeing team will be large-scale air traffic management (ATM) modeling and simulation, integration of ground and air platforms and developing integrated solutions across commercial, military, general aviation and unmanned vehicle types, said Gene Hayman Jr., vice president of Boeing Advanced Air Traffic Management and SE2020 program manager.

Hayman cited two demonstration programs the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) and Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) as candidates for advancement. AIRE and ASPIRE are focused on gate-to-gate optimization of oceanic operations, but airports serving domestic destinations are similarly being eyed.

“We want to move them from the initial operational trials to more pre-implementation capabilities,” Hayman said. “ … Those two platforms are perfect platforms to look at how we integrate operational trials across the oceans, and of course those targeted airports would be the coastal airports. But we don’t want to limit the flight trials to just those airports. We think any of the 35 OEP (Operational Evolution Partnership) airports are prime candidates for these operational trials.”

Interestingly, the Boeing roster includes arch-rival Airbus as well as ATM heavyweight and fighter aircraft foe Lockheed Martin. Boeing is a subcontractor to Airbus on elements of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) program, noted Neil Planzer, Boeing vice president of Air Traffic Management Transformation. “Boeing and Airbus have a vested interest in having a harmonized global air traffic system,” Planzer said. “Boeing and Lockheed Martin also have worked together to integrate ground systems and airborne vehicles.”

It’s unlikely that all of the companies lined up to participate in SE2020 are mentioned in the same press release, so I’ve taken the liberty here:

➤ Boeing contract, $1.7 billion: Adacel, Airbus, Cessna Aircraft, Ensco, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Harris, Honeywell, Jeppesen, Jerry Thompson & Associates, Lockheed Martin, Mosaic ATM, Spectrum Software Technology, Tetra Tech AMT, Washington Consulting Group.

➤ ITT contract, $1.4 billion: Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems, Aerospace Engineering Solutions, Airways New Zealand, Alvarez & Associates, ARCON Corp., Basic Commerce & Industries, Bell Helicopter, Bombardier, Bridgenet, CGH Technologies, Computer Science Corp., Embraer, Enroute Computer Solutions, Flatirons, GE Aviation/Naverus, Human Solutions Inc., Intelligent Automation Inc., Jet Blue, Middle Tennessee State University, NEXA Capital Partners, Northrop Grumman, Ohio University, Piaggio Aero, Piper Aircraft, Raytheon, Robinson Aviation, Rockwell Collins, Sensis Corp., Serco, SRI International, Thales, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, United Airlines, Veracity, WSI.

➤ General Dynamics contract, $1.2 billion: Gulfstream Aerospace, Jet Aviation, Advanced Aerospace Solutions, ADS-B Technologies, Alaska Airlines, Applied Systems Intelligence, Avidyne Corp., BAE Systems, Baron Services, Center for Network Centric Product Support Research, Cirrus Aircraft, Conklin de Decker, CSSI, FlightSafety International, Hi-Tec Systems, Infina Corp., Innovative Solutions International, Interim Solutions for Government, Sikorsky Aircraft, SRA International, Universities Space Research Association.

➤ Metron Aviation contract, $1.15 billion: Sensis Corp., CSSI, Flatirons Solutions, Thales, ARINC, AvMet, Bell Helicopter Textron, Bombardier Aerospace, Cessna Aircraft, CSC, EnRoute Computer Solutions, Flight Safety International, GE Aviation, Human Solutions, Innovative Solutions International, ITT Corp., Mosaic ATM, Northrop Grumman, RVA Inc., Georgia Institute of Technology, George Mason University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University, University of California-Berkeley, University of Maryland.

➤ Booz Allen Hamilton contact, $711 million: Tetra Tech/AMT Inc., LMI, MCR, L-3, other small business partners.

➤ CSSI contract, $280 million: MCR, Grant Thornton, Honeywell, Flatirons Solutions, ISI, Noblis, AS&T, IAI, AvMet, eSTS.


Bill Carey is the editor in chief of Avionics Magazine. You can reach him at bcarey@accessintel.com or 301-354-1818.

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