FAA finalizes delivery schedule for new radar monitoring system

FAA finalizes delivery schedule for new radar monitoring system

By Frank Tiboni

GCN Staff

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to release an installation schedule for its new radar monitoring system by the end of the month.

FAA early this year had put on hold the rollout of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System.

FAA in September 1996 awarded the five-year, $952 million STARS contract to Raytheon Co. to replace computers and controller displays at FAA radar centers. But since then, changes to the software and hardware have led to cost overruns and schedule delays.

The agency last September told lawmakers it needed an additional $293.9 million to complete STARS. Now FAA has increased that estimate to $400 million, bringing the system's price tag to $1.4 billion.

Another version

FAA, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the Professional Airways Systems Specialists agreed to a revised implementation schedule for STARS in April.

The new plan focuses on finishing the full system as soon as possible while meeting short-term requirements for controller displays at some agency facilities through a less-robust version of STARS known as the Early Display Configuration [GCN, June 22, Page 14].

FAA said it plans to deploy EDC later this year at the Syracuse, N.Y., and El Paso, Texas, terminal radar approach control centers. The centers, two of 172 TRACONs, process flight and weather data within a 50-mile radius of airports to ensure safe arrivals and departures. The plan set for release this month will detail the rollout of EDC and STARS to the remaining centers.

The Syracuse and El Paso centers will each get an EDC system and monitor that has an interface to the Automated Radar Terminal System, the system that STARS will replace.

In the full STARS rollout, the radar centers will get 20-inch high-resolution DDM-2800C monitors from Sony Corp. of America of Park Ridge, N.J., and systems running AutoTrack software from Raytheon and TrackView from Hughes Data Systems of Irvine, Calif.

The EDC systems successfully completed year 2000 testing last month, passing 100 percent of the tests at Raytheon's Marlborough, Mass., facility, said Bill Voss, FAA's director of air traffic systems development.

'The recent joint FAA-Raytheon Y2K validation testing of the EDC software clearly demonstrates Raytheon's STARS software is ready for use in the next millennium,'' Voss said.

A substantial part of the test consisted of ensuring that all the major functionality designed into the EDC system for STARS worked before, during and after Jan. 1 and for year 2000 leap year dates. Raytheon, with FAA in attendance, put the system through 1,300 procedural test steps and 30 date code rollovers, Voss said.

In June, the full STARS successfully completed the third and final incremental system acceptance test at Marlborough. The acceptance test consisted of more than 1,000 hours of FAA-witnessed testing and more than 20,000 procedural test steps.

More than 100 hours of the testing included ensuring that STARS fully met its stringent display response time and system throughput performance requirements, Voss said.

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