Boeing team scores FAA contract

NEW YORK — Boeing Co. said Thursday that its subcontracting team won a U.S. research and development support contract worth up to $1.7 billion for upgrading the nation's air-traffic management system.

Altogether the Federal Aviation Administration has handed out about $4.4 billion in contracts to install a satellite-based traffic management system over the next decade. Two more contracts are expected to be awarded under the "NextGen" program, which has a $7 billion ceiling, making it the largest set of awards in FAA history.

"NextGen is an economic opportunity that will challenge innovative companies to expand their work force and help us modernize our National Airspace System," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the time. "Under NextGen, air travelers will be able to fly to their destinations safer and faster."

NextGen uses the Global Positioning System, or GPS, digital communications and data networking. The new system should allow aircraft to fly together more closely and on more direct routes, reducing delays, fuel burn and emissions.

The current system uses ground-based radar and has been in use for some 60 years.

Last week, the FAA said it awarded contracts to General Dynamics, ITT and Boeing.

Chicago-based Boeing said its prime focus would be on modeling and simulation for NextGen, as well as developing full integration of ground and airborne technologies and operations across all vehicle types, including commercial and military aircraft, general aviation, unmanned aerial systems and helicopters.

Aircraft manufacturing partners with Boeing on the research and development contract are Cessna Aircraft, Airbus and Lockheed Martin.

The Boeing team also includes Adacel Technologies, Ensco, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Harris Corp., Honeywell International Inc., Jeppesen, Jerry Thompson & Associates, Mosaic ATM, Spectrum Software Technology, Tetra Tech AMT and the Washington Consulting Group.