FAA's STARS program is getting off the ground at last

FAA's STARS program is getting off the ground at last

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

FEB. 1—Nearly five years after the Federal Aviation Administration envisioned its new radar airport approach system, the flight agency may finally be seeing STARS.

Next month, Raytheon Co. will upgrade software at El Paso International Airport in Texas, where a beta version of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System is now in operation, company officials said. STARS software running at Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, N.Y., will be upgraded to the FS-1 version shortly thereafter, the spokesman said. A tentative rollout schedule targeting 12 airports over the next two years also has been released.

By the end of September, airports in Bradley, Conn., and Memphis, Tenn., will upgrade to the STARS system from the aging Automated Radar Terminal Systems. Ten more airports will convert to the new system by the end of September 2002, Raytheon officials said. When the rollout is finished in 2008, FAA will oversee 191 STARS sites.

The Defense Department, which partnered with FAA in the development of the program, rolled out the first full version of STARS at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in July. DOD has not released a schedule for installation at the 140 stations it has targeted for STARS.

STARS is the next generation of the FAA's radar system designed to track aircraft within a 50-mile radius of an airport. The system uses as its primary radar a modified version of Raytheon's Autotrac open architecture air traffic software.

By the time the rollout is completed in 2008, it will have spent $1.4 billion on the program.

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