FAA plan for modernizing en route centers has Greek flavor

When Federal Aviation Administration officials had to choose a name for their
five-year, $450 million en route modernization program, they wanted an ambiguous one.


Then they learned about Eunomia, the goddess warden of the sky in Greek mythology.
“Eunomia moved all the clouds and directed the chariots,” said Cindy Skiles,
FAA’s Eunomia team leader. “Her name also means harmony in the sky. We thought
it was a perfect fit.”


FAA held Eunomia Industry Days recently at FAA headquarters to learn more from vendors
about hardware and software it should consider for upgrading or replacing the existing en
route systems. Representatives from about 50 companies, including Compaq Computer Corp.,
IBM Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp., attended the vendor day.


Skiles said the event was a new effort by the agency.


“We have taken heat in the past from industry for not getting them involved
earlier on in the decision-making process,” Skiles said. “We thought we’d
take a proactive approach this time. Some industry participants were even confused by what
we were trying to accomplish.”


During the two-day event, FAA officials gave presentations on the Eunomia program and
provided vendors with details about likely systems requirements, the agency’s
investment analyses and the acquisition plan. FAA also held one-on-one sessions in which
agency officials met with industry participants to hear suggestions.


The Eunomia program encompasses the systems that process radar and flight data within a
50-mile radius of an airport. FAA runs 20 en route centers around the country.


“We have a number of systems at these centers that are approaching their end of
life,” said John McKenna, Eunomia program manager. “We’re taking a
systematic look across the agency to decide what systems need to be upgraded or
replaced.”


Two systems FAA will modernize are the Direct Access Radar Channel and the Peripheral
Adapter Module Replacement Item.


DARC, built on Motorola 68000 and Raytheon RDS 5000 processors, is the backup system
for FAA’s Host system, which handles radar data at the centers. PAMRI is a string of
modems that handle communications between centers, McKenna said.


FAA has earmarked $10 million in its fiscal 2000 budget proposal for the initial phase
of Eunomia.





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