U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration
has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Air Traffic Management
(Rockville, MD), for Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) satellite
leased communication services. As the FAA moves towards
implementation of satellite navigation, these services will provide
increased availability of WAAS for instrument approaches across a
majority of the national airspace system.
Team is people you know.
This initial contract is worth $34 million, including a $12
million task order to start the work. The total contract value
could amount to $597 million if additional satellite services are
ordered. This was a competitive procurement that ultimately led to
a team that consists of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Corp. and Boeing
Co. The initial contract permits Lockheed Martin to proceed with
the design and development of the ground stations.
The FAA is developing WAAS to provide increased
safety and capacity in navigation and landing to allow for
additional precision approach capability without additional ground
infrastructure. WAAS, which is made up of a system of satellites
and ground reference stations, improves the accuracy and the
integrity of the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) signals.
The FAA currently leases communications
transponders on two Inmarsat-III satellites, providing coverage
over the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. The additional
geostationary satellite communication service increases the
availability of the WAAS signal-in-space and makes the system more
reliable. This means that pilots using the WAAS will have less
chance of losing the signal during critical flight operations.
Acquisition of a third satellite leased
communication service follows a recommendation from an independent
review board study that concluded that it was too risky to depend
on two satellites for the availability of the WAAS signal. A third
geostationary satellite is needed to ensure that a single
geostationary failure does not cause large-scale outages of service
over the U.S.
contract provides for a 24-month development of ground earth
stations with the flexibility to procure up to three satellite
leased communication services. It also will allow the FAA
flexibility for procuring leased services that take into account
changes in the constellation due to the satellite relocations,
satellite failure, unplanned outages, as well as maintaining
geostationary diversity and security. The FAA plans to have the
first additional communications link operating on a geostationary
satellite by 2006.
The FAA is currently conducting WAAS operational test and
evaluation, and certification for instrument flight rule navigation
in preparation for commissioning later this year. This latest
satellite services acquisition, combined with the recent successes
in the WAAS program, brings the FAA one step closer to full
utilization of satellite navigation and is a significant step
towards moving the agency into the future of navigation.