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By Nick Wakeman

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Software problem temporarily grounds Lockheed's air traffic control system

The FAA has pinned a software glitch as the reason many flights in the Washington D.C. region were cancelled or delayed over the weekend.

The Washington Post reported that nearly 1,000 flights were affected across the country because the problems in the D.C. area rippled across the nation. 

The software issues were part of an upgrade of the En Route Automation Modernization system installed by Lockheed Martin.

The FAA said it is working with Lockheed to prevent future outages.

A Lockheed spokesman said, “The Lockheed Martin team continues to work with our FAA partners to answer questions related to the August 15 issue at the Washington DC Air Route Traffic Control Center.”

The software issue involved a recent upgrade that allowed individual air traffic controllers to customize their view of frequently needed data. The data was supposed to be removed once the controllers deleted it, the FAA said.

But the information remained in memory until the storage limit was filled and this consumed processing power needed to operate the overall system.

The FAA said it has suspended use of that function until it can be corrected.

The ERAM system is an important program for Lockheed as it feeds into the FAA’s plan for a new nation wide air traffic control system, known as NextGen. Building NextGen could be a $40 billion undertaking, according to the Washington Post.

Lockheed’s air traffic control business also is part of the IT business that Lockheed Martin is looking to divest sometime in the next year.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Aug 19, 2015 at 12:22 PM


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