The Department of Transportation’s inspector general (IG) released an update last month on the FAA’s progress with the standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars), the program to modernize terminal ATC equipment. The IG report identified a number of problem areas slowing Stars implementation caused by early, as yet unresolved, hardware and software delays that have put the entire program in jeopardy.
Airport surveillance radar
The U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon a $50.6 million engineering and manufacturing development contract to build mobile ATC systems capable of providing approach control guidance to military and other aircraft operating within a terminal airspace area. Raytheon will supply 19 mobile systems under the service’s deployable radar approach control (D-Rapcon) program; the overall contract value is approximately $400 million.
Although the FAA has finally commissioned its first standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars), the agency has drastically reduced the number of systems it plans to install at the nation’s airports. And that has caused some people to question the FAA’s commitment to ATC modernization.
Even though the FAA’s new standard terminal automation replacement system (Stars) has begun a nationwide “road show” in a 28-ft-long van, the Transportation Department’s inspector general has warned Congress that deploying Stars within the current estimated cost and schedule “remains at risk.”
The FAA will procure new radar systems for some 15 low- to medium-activity airports that currently have no radar displays. These displays are part of the agency’s plan to provide interim tower displays in advance of the full national deployment of the Standard Terminal Automated Radar System (Stars). The displays will provide an “affordable and certifiable” tower radar that can be purchased by airports at their own expense.