IBM to support U.K. air surveillance system

New agreement covers radar, data-link technology upgrades

IBM Corp. will continue maintaining an air surveillance system for the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence under a five-year, $38 million (23 million pounds sterling) contract.

Under the agreement, IBM will furnish hardware, software, training and help desk services, company officials said July 28. IBM also will upgrade the system, which the company installed in 2001. Near-term enhancements include integration of new types of data feeds from commercial air traffic control centers. Long-range enhancements are likely to consist of upgrades to radar and data-link technologies so that data from aircraft in flight can be incorporated into the new system.

Royal Air Force technicians use the Air Surveillance Command and Control System to monitor thousands of aircraft in the skies above the nation each day and protect both national and NATO airspace. The system matches flight patterns against flight plans filed in advance to pinpoint suspicious activity. When an anomaly is spotted, the technicians dispatch fighter aircraft to investigate. The system monitors about 2 million flights each year.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., ranks No. 18 on Washington Technology’s 2009 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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