Boeing Looks To The ATC Market

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Throws Its Hat Into The FAA's Ring...

Boeing says it (with help from some other companies) has what it takes to make the National Airspace System (NAS) more efficient and safer. The company hopes to clinch a big deal with the FAA to design, produce and implement a new, fully integrated air traffic flow system that will maximize use of the capacity of the National Airspace System. Boeing's Air Traffic Management business unit has formed a team to tackle this daunting project. Joining Boeing are Raytheon Inc., Metron Aviation Inc., KENROB, RLM Software and WSI Corporation. Boeing claims to bring extensive experience to the table with its "integration of large-scale systems and development of open-system architectures." Raytheon is no stranger to FAA ATC systems, as it deployed the Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS), Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) and Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). KENROB is the system administrator for the FAA's Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS) and RLM Software developed the ETMS communications infrastructure.

...But Can The NAS Be Fixed?

Has even the mighty Boeing bitten off more than it can chew? Although most aircraft seem to get from A to B each day, hardly a day goes by without some criticism of the system that manages all those flights. After all, the current ATC structure has been criticized for the use of older, unreliable equipment. Implementation of new technology, like STARS, is years behind schedule and often has developmental problems, although in the STARS deployment in Philadelphia, the kinks seem to have been worked out, largely due to the efforts of controllers themselves, according to the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers. In a news release, Boeing acknowledges the challenges ahead. "The current traffic flow management system has evolved over time from a number of subsystems and tools that are not fully interoperable. In addition, the constraints in capacity, performance and operational requirements the system now faces raise serious concerns at the FAA and among industry stakeholders about the overall future viability of the system."