FAA to Screen Bidders for Nexcom System

FAA to Screen Bidders for Nexcom System

By Jennifer Freer, Staff Writer

JUNE 7 ? The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking to upgrade its communication infrastructure through a pair of contracts, and will soon screen potential bidders.

The Next Generation Air/Ground Communications systems (Nexcom) contracts will be a multistep program to upgrade the air-to-ground infrastructure system to digital mode and provide additional radio spectrum for air traffic control communication, the FAA said.

The first of the two Nexcom programs to be bid will provide a new, multimode, digital radio, which is crucial to the FAA's entire communication system, said Mike Shveda, product lead for the FAA's air-to-ground voice communications. The contract will be awarded in July 2001 and is worth over $100 million. It is for one year with nine one-year options, Shveda said.

The second contract will provide new control equipment to allow the new radio to operate in a digital mode, providing additional spectrum. That deal is to be awarded in July 2003, but Shveda had no details on length and worth of that contract.

Both contracts combined should total billions of dollars and will last until 2023, if future upgrades are included, Shveda said.

In July, the FAA will allow potential bidders to demonstrate their capabilities to support the new system and provide the equipment, Shveda said. After the demonstrations, the names of the contractors seeking bids will be released, he said

Potential bidders include AT&T Corp., Harris Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Lucent Technologies Inc., Motorola Inc., Raytheon Co., Unisys Corp., and WorldCom Inc., according to Federal Sources Inc., a market research firm in McLean, Va.

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