The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operates the world’s largest airspace. To do this efficiently, the agency relies on people, technology and services across the country to support its mission. L3Harris is proud to be one of the trusted partners providing key support through collaborative programs that work closely together to enhance the National Airspace System (NAS). These efforts are critical to the NAS by providing technologies and services that support air traffic control operations with continued system connectivity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It is an honor to have worked with the FAA for more than three decades, and we are celebrating three integrated solution program milestones this year:
- 20 years of partnership on the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) program – the network backbone connecting the NAS.
- 15 years in enabling NextGen with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) airspace surveillance and information broadcast services – delivering automated broadcast services for pilots that provide important flight information and providing more precise air traffic surveillance to air traffic control.
- 10 years of connecting controllers to pilots with data link communications on the Data Comm program - enabling the future of trajectory-based routing.
L3Harris continues to operate, improve, evolve, and expand each program as the prime managed infrastructure service provider to enable air traffic control and management for the FAA in U.S. airspace. The enterprise-wide communication, information sharing, and surveillance network platforms provided to the FAA through these programs facilitate enhanced safety and greater efficiency in the NAS.
“Through these programs, we have revolutionized how the FAA communicates with aviation industry stakeholders and surveils the skies,” said Kathy Crandall, President, Mission Networks, L3Harris. “We are excited to continue this critical work as the FAA looks toward the future of trajectory-based flight operations that will incorporate risk-based decision-making to manage the dynamic aspects of the ever-changing airspace.”
FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI)
L3Harris operates the FAA’s data and voice network infrastructure that enables air traffic control and management of the NAS. As the largest aviation network in the world, L3Harris’ managed infrastructure services support more than 28,000 NAS services with an enterprise-wide, resilient, highly available, and secure network capability for critical air traffic management communications. The FTI network also provides flexible, secure, and remotely accessible administrative functions for more than 36,000 users. By consolidating previous FAA infrastructure into one cohesive network, FTI enhances network security and improves the telecommunication performance at the more than 4,400 connected FAA facilities.
“I have supported the FTI Program for the past 10 years,” explained Paul Henry, IP Operations Lead Supervisor. “My role is to provide the FAA with a stable telecommunications network that safely supports the flying public, connecting over 4,000 FAA locations across the country and the globe. Our roles are essential in providing FAA Air Traffic Management with the ability to safely operate and manage aircraft. My peers and I are very proud to be a part of this essential program.”
Surveillance Broadcast Services System
L3Harris serves as the prime contractor for the FAA's newest cooperative air traffic surveillance system, the ADS-B program, providing aircraft surveillance data and flight information to support air traffic control and provide pilots with enhanced situational awareness.
We designed, built, and continue to operate the network that enables ADS-B surveillance, delivering precise 3D location, trajectory, and time of arrival information to air traffic control faster than traditional radar surveillance using ADS-B technology. This is a cornerstone program of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative, delivering important surveillance capability and broadcasting information to improve pilot situational awareness of traffic, weather, and flight conditions.
“The ADS-B program receives consistent GPS signals from aircrafts, broadcasting their precise location, course, and speed to one or more of 700 networked ground stations throughout the NAS,” said Chris Balle, Director, Program Manager on the ADS-B program. “This expanded visibility provides a complete, consolidated real time picture to air traffic control. It has been great to support and work on a program that provides enhanced safety and efficiency.”
Data Communications Integrated Services
L3Harris supports the FAA on the Data Comm program by delivering nationwide air-ground network services and providing engineering analysis and integration support capabilities and expertise to facilitate air to ground interoperability.
Data Comm is revolutionizing the way controllers and pilots communicate in the continental U.S. by reducing communication time between controllers and flight crews, increasing throughput and efficiency by reducing delays and fuel burn, enhancing safety through the mitigation of errors that can occur over voice, and reducing emissions and the impact on the environment while simultaneously enabling the move towards trajectory-based operations.
“I love the aviation industry and I feel grateful to work on a program that is bringing tangible benefits to controllers, pilots, passengers and the National Airspace System,” says Moranda Reilly, Project Manager for Data Comm. “Quantifying benefits for these groups is not only interesting but also rewarding. The moment they start to understand the savings they could be receiving by using Data Comm is very fulling. Operators are choosing to equip aircraft and participate in Data Comm because of this data.”
We take pride in delivering these integrated system solutions that support the FAA’s mission to provide the world's safest, most efficient aerospace system, and look forward to another 30 years of partnership.