Three contractors win billions in FAA NextGen contract

The Federal Aviation Administration today named Boeing, General Dynamics, and ITT to engineer key parts of its next generation air traffic control system.

Boeing Co., General Dynamics Corp., and ITT Corp. today won engineering contracts potentially worth a total of more than $4 billion  to work on the Federal Aviation Administration’s next generation air traffic control system.

According to an FAA spokeswoman, each company won a separate contract worth up to more than $1 billion that will include specific task orders. 

FAA hired the companies for up to 10 years to demonstrate FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) program in real time and on a large scale within the country’s current air traffic system, the agency said in a statement.

The NextGen program is designed to replace current ground-based air traffic control technologies with satellite-based technology.

FAA will work with Boeing, General Dynamics, and ITT to integrate the element of time with the latitude, longitude and altitude measurements that pilots and controllers use to locate aircraft, the agency said.

Including the dimension of time will permit pilots and controllers to locate aircraft with greater precision and let them fly more direct routes, while taking into consideration heavy traffic and bad weather, the agency said.

The contractors will also work on developing modernized weather services for NextGen that will give pilots and controllers a more detailed and accurate picture of severe weather conditions and allow them to plan safer routes.

The three contracts were awarded under FAA’s System Engineering 2020 (SE2020) contracting vehicle which has a ceiling of $7 billion. 

 FAA said it expects to award two more contracts under it.

Boeing ranks No 3, General Dynamics No. 6 and ITT No. 14 on Washington Technology's 2010 Top 100 list of the largest government contractors.

Ed Sayadian, vice president of ITT’s air traffic management business unit, said the FAA can task orders under the contracts in any fashion they want. For example, FAA could have each company look at different aspects of NextGen, allocate tasks in a way that would have the companies working more cooperatively with each other, or have companies develop different approaches for achieving various operational objectives of NextGen and compete with each other. 

ITT’s contract could be worth more than $1.4 billion, and Sayadian said the company has compiled a team for the project that includes many subcontractors such as Raytheon Co. and United Airlines.

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