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Monday, October 20, 2008

Fed Watch -- R/W Lights, New Gear for TRACONs

FAA Expands Runway Status Lights Nationwide
Sensis Corp
was awarded a $131 million, three-year contract to install runway status lights at 22 major U.S. airports. The award from the Federal Aviation Administration includes two one-year options to install the lights at additional airports for a total contract value of $215 million.
The award follows successful testing at Dallas-Fort Worth and San Diego and an agency decision to deploy the lights at the same airports where the Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X (ASDE-X) systems are being installed. The lights use the ASDE-X surveillance data to operate.
As part of the initial contract, runway status lights will be deployed at Atlanta; Baltimore Washington International; Boston; Charlotte, NC; Chicago O’Hare; Dallas-Fort Worth; Denver; Detroit; Washington Dulles; Fort Lauderdale; Houston Intercontinental; New York John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Newark, N.J.; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Diego; and Seattle airports.
The lights are part of FAA initiatives to improve runway safety at U.S. airports, an effort that received renewed concentration about 18 months ago after the National Transportation Safety Board held a day-long symposium on runway safety problems. Related Story The effort includes agreements with four U.S. airlines, including SkyWest, to fund in-cockpit runway safety systems in exchange for critical operational data. The data will help the FAA evaluate the safety impact of the surface moving maps, long sought by the NTSB, for flights to or from 21 test bed airports and is expected to accelerate key safety capabilities necessary for the transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Related Story

New Systems at Four Major Airports
Air traffic control towers located in Chicago, Denver, St. Louis, and Minneapolis-St. Paul are now using automated radar processing and display systems deployed as part of the Federal Aviation Administration's Terminal Area Modernization Replacement (TAMR) program. The project was developed by a Raytheon/Lockheed Martin team which installed the new gear at the four Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities.
Updating systems and displays that controllers use at or near the nation's major airports not only addresses hardware obsolescence and capacity issues, but it also improves the computer-human interface within the National Airspace System. In addition, the new systems -- which incorporate easier-to-view graphical displays -- provide the FAA flexibility to incorporate existing and future technology enhancements needed to meet the challenges of an evolving airspace system, such as multiple radar sensor displays and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) capabilities.
"By working together, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have been able to provide a best value solution to ensure the FAA achieves its mission of aviation safety and efficiency for airline passengers," said Sandra Samuel, vice president of Lockheed Martin Aviation Solutions. "We are proud to provide FAA professionals at these four major airports with modernized technologies, allowing them to continue to evolve toward an innovative and efficient Next Generation Air Transportation System."

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