Harris Corporation Successfully Demonstrates End-to-End Functionality for Data Communication Between Pilots and Controllers
WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS) today successfully demonstrated how existing, proven communications technology can launch the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) transition from analog voice communications to digital data communications between pilots and air traffic controllers. The use of data communications is expected to significantly increase the efficiency and safety of the Air Traffic Control (ATC) system.
Representatives of the FAA, the aerospace industry, and various industry standards and user committees attended the demonstration, held at the company's offices in Washington, D.C.
Harris is heading an industry leading team pursuing the FAA's Data Communications Network Service (DCNS) contract, a critical next step in advancing the nation's aviation system into the digital era. Data Communications is part of the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative to modernize the nation's ATC system. If selected, Harris will provide integration and engineering services for the program. The Harris team includes ARINC, an internationally established provider of data networks and related technologies that connect commercial flight crews to ground operations anywhere in the world.
During the demonstration, Future Air Navigation System (FANS) messages were successfully transmitted at the touch of a button over ARINC's operational VHF Digital Link Mode 2 (VDL Mode 2) network between simulated ATC operations in Harris' Washington, D.C. facility and the cockpit of a Gulfstream aircraft at an airport in southeastern U.S. Simultaneously, the SITA operational VDL Mode 2 network exchanged FANS messages between simulated ATC operations in the Harris facility and Airbus avionics equipment located at a ground station in Western Europe.
Animations, coupled with live cockpit video, provided attendees with a detailed scenario of how the data would flow within the National Airspace System (NAS). Despite widespread use of digital data transmission via ARINC and SITA VHF networks, the NAS currently uses primarily analog voice communications for ATC.
Today's analog voice communications between controllers and air crews consume valuable time and can lead to errors in translation or interpretation. Using data communications for emerging NextGen applications, such as trajectory-based operations, will enable aircraft to fly more direct routes, saving both time and fuel.
In addition to supporting new capabilities, data communications will automate defined, repetitive tasks, and will enable ground systems to use real-time aircraft data to improve traffic management. Pilots and controllers will no longer have to verbally contact each other for such routine tasks as requesting departure clearances or frequency transfers.
"This is available technology that will enable the FAA to begin a successful, early transition to comprehensive data connectivity," said John O'Sullivan, vice president, Mission Critical Networks, Harris Government Communications Systems. "Our demonstration shows that the Harris Data Comm team has a complete, viable, low-risk solution that utilizes proven operational networks. This means that the transition can begin with minimal investment, and continue to evolve to meet new requirements."
Harris has a long history of developing and integrating system solutions for the FAA and the global ATC network. In addition to its work as prime contractor and system architect for the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) network, Harris has developed numerous other ATC communications products, systems and weather information solutions.
About Harris Corporation
Harris is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company has approximately $5 billion of annual revenue and more than 15,000 employees — including nearly 7,000 engineers and scientists. Harris is dedicated to developing best-in-class assured communications® products, systems, and services. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at www.harris.com.