View Full Version : FAA Selects Lockheed NZ Oceanic System

24th May 2001, 09:18
It is ironic that we know the aircraft position within 10 meters with GPS but still talk on HF and are tracked with paper strips when over the pond.

Of course, knowing FAA computer contracts, I wouldn't hold my breath on this one...

FAA Selects Lockheed to Develop
System to Track Planes Over Ocean


After years of relying on paper strips to keep track of airplanes over the ocean, the Federal Aviation Administration picked Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop a satellite-based system similar to one now being used by New Zealand.

The cost and timeline of the fixed-price contract, which will be signed in June, are still being negotiated, but people familiar with the project said it will run to about $200 million and take approximately two years to complete.

Two Pacific Nations Try to Coax FAA Into Upgrading to Paperless Travel (Dec. 29, 2000)

The Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures system should enable controllers to reduce separation between airplanes and provide routings that can cut fuel costs, officials said. The system will be installed in the FAA's Oakland, Calif., New York and Anchorage, Alaska, air-traffic centers, which together oversee about 23 million square miles of oceanic airspace.

Currently, planes flying on the major routes over the Pacific Ocean are kept as far as 100 miles apart. Controllers use strips of paper to track airplanes, plotting each flight's progress on a sheet of Plexiglass, as pilots radio in at specific checkpoints. The new system is designed to enable controllers to know precisely where the airplanes are and to change routing if wind and weather conditions are favorable elsewhere.

This is the second go-around for the FAA, which abandoned a previous attempt after costs got too high. In 1995, the FAA awarded a $140 million contract to Hughes Aircraft Co., since acquired by Raytheon Co., for a new oceanic tracking system. The cost of the first phase of the program skyrocketed, in part because the FAA kept changing its requirements. In 1998, the FAA canceled the rest of the contract after investing a total of $58 million in the effort.

Last year, the agency picked closely held Airinc Inc., an Annapolis, Md., satellite-communications company, and Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., to compete for the new contract. Airinc was promoting technology used by Australia, while Lockheed Martin backed New Zealand's system. The competition was highlighted in a Dec. 29, 2000, front-page article in The Wall Street Journal.

Lockheed said it will work with Adacel Technologies Ltd., supplier of the Oceanic Air Traffic Management System, and Airways Corp. of New Zealand, the first company to apply the system in New Zealand.

24th May 2001, 17:41
Note the company was selected but the contract hasn't been negotiated yet, so it ain't over till it's over.

And when it is it will be a fixed price contract. Hope the FAA has figured out their requirements this time because fixed price doesn't mean anything if you go in and change the requirements all the time. You'd think they'd have figured this out by now.

Does this mean the UA FANS equiped 747s in the Pac will be useful across the Atlantic? And in any case, they can all talk through ACARS and ARINC makes $xxx per minute/byte. Sounds wonderful.