|Air Traffic Management|
|New contract involves a true team
Many units included in big FAA pact for ATM
BY LEN VRANIAK
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, "The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual."
The latest activities of Boeing's Air Traffic Management business unit follow the same strategy. Recently awarded its first major contract by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for the Global Communications, Navigation and Surveillance System for use in Air Traffic Management, ATM is building a team that leverages the skill, expertise and experience of business units and individuals across Boeing.
The GCNSS contract calls for ATM to undertake several proof-of-concept studies to demonstrate technologies that could be used by the FAA to help modernize America's air transportation system.
Modernizing the air transportation system also would have ramifications across Boeing. Among other benefits, increased system capacity would add to the potential marketplace for both Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Capital Corp., which provides leasing and financing services to airlines. Satellite-based components of the new system could expand opportunities for Boeing Satellite Systems. A large-scale, globally interoperable system with features that significantly improve safety, security, capacity and efficiency of the U.S. air transport network would need to be fully integrateda strength of Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems business unit.
Indeed, the team that will perform the GCNSS contract is drawn from nearly every segment of The Boeing Company. According to John Hayhurst, ATM president, the fact that a great portion of Boeing is coming together to ensure exceptional performance on the GCNSS contract makes three important points:
• It demonstrates the broad scope of Boeing's capabilities and reemphasizes the company's place as a world leader in aerospace.
• It differentiates Boeing's efforts and competencies in the ATM arena from those of other competitors.
• It is a testament to the long-term value of ATM's activities to the entire Boeing enterprise.
The FAA's operational requirements for the GCNSS contract call for studying the integration of three key components into the current national airspace system: a global, satellite-based communications, navigation and surveillance architecture; a highly integrated, secure common information network; and a broadband, two-way, secure communications capability.
The common information network is the backbone that will support the development of a global communications, navigation and surveillance system. The common information network will work most effectively using a secure, broadband data pipeline. That's where Connexion by Boeing enters the team. The same technologies that enable Connexion's broadband in-flight information servicewhich can provide real-time Internet and intranet access to airline passengerscan be the pathway for an integrated, two-way information flow between aircraft and the ground.
In addition to providing the data pipeline, Connexion brings Connexion One, its specially outfitted 737, to the GCNSS effort. Connexion One will play an important role in carrying out the GCNSS contract, as it will provide inflight demonstrations and integration of related capabilities and potential enhancements to the air transportation system.
Some of the data that will flow through the Connexion pipeline will be developed using modeling tools such as the Aircraft Activity Display System, created by Preston Aviation Solutions, a Boeing subsidiary and unit of ATM.
Another important component of the GCNSS demonstrations involves exploring an integrated solution for comprehensively monitoring aircraft in the terminal domain from within an airport security operations center. Another Boeing subsidiary, Autometric, is making a critical contribution in this area.
Autometric's Visual Security Operations Console will be installed at an airport and integrated with existing airport security systems. Then, displays of onboard security and surveillance data generated by earlier flight demonstration segments will be melded in and combined with aircraft location data to provide a realistic simulation of the comprehensive situational awareness the Visual Security Operations Console can provide to airport, air traffic management and security personnel.
At this year's Farnborough (U.K.) Air Show, Phil Condit said, "The opportunity exists to do something dramatic about safety, about security, about capacity, and about efficiency of the operation of the air traffic system." Successful execution of the GCNSS contract is an important step in the right direction, and it will be another chapter on the importance of working together.
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