AWARD OF NEW NEXTGEN CONTACT FOR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS IS GOOD; MEETING THE MILESTONES IS CRITICAL FOR ENHANCING AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SAFETY

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Press Release – FAA Achieves Major NextGen Milestone with Contract for Digital Communications in Aircraft

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As shown in the above picture, voice media has been the primary mechanism for communication between controllers and pilots. Today, Acting Administrator Huerta announced an award to Harris Corporation Government Communications Systems supported by subcontractors — ARINC Inc., GE Aviation and Thales — to provide Data Communications Integrated Services (DCIS).

Upon completion of this contract oral messages will no longer be the primary tool for conveying information. The future DataComm will allow two-way data exchange between controllers and flight crews; once implemented, clearances, instructions, advisories, flight crew requests and reports will be transmitted more swiftly, with less opportunity for errors and with less time-consuming burdens on both the initiator and the recipient of the information.

The award is for a $331million contract for an initial 7 year term with one year options to extend its life an additional decade. The goal is to equip all of the Air Traffic Control Towers by 2016 and to complete installation at the en route centers starting in 2019.

This is a major milestone in the NextGen overall program. Awarding of the contract is good; meeting or exceeding the goals is really important.

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