Skip to main content

Supporting Global Air Traffic Modernization through Managed Services Infrastructure

More than 10,000 aircraft are in flight across the world at any given moment– all managed by air navigation service providers (ANSPs) using a suite of communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) systems coupled with air traffic management (ATM) solutions. ANSPs need a modern, flexible CNS infrastructure to keep our skies safe, secure and efficient – all while delivering consistently high levels of service to airlines, airports and passengers.

L3Harris’ collaborative approach shows a promising path forward as a managed services provider. Supporting global ANSPs, we combine two decades of global technical expertise with a locally tailored approach to maintain and upgrade a range of ATM equipment infrastructure, processes and technology. By delivering repeatable, scalable and reliable ATM solutions and services, we enable our ANSP customers to focus on their core mission: Managing air traffic safely, securely and efficiently.

Foundation for Proven Know-how and Customer Confidence
L3Harris’ partnership with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides a prime illustration of the benefits of a managed services approach. Since 2002 we have provided essential voice, data and video capability for air traffic control operations and supported the FAA’s mission to operate the safest and most efficient airspace in the world.

The partnership has enabled the FAA to focus on the core safety, efficiency, and modernization needs of its operations, while L3Harris provides the day-to-day delivery, operation and sustainment of the network services and technology. It all adds up to a stable, flexible and secure telecommunications network that safely supports the flying public in the world’s largest aviation network.

Providing Operational Benefits with Data Link Managed Services
Since 2012, L3Harris and the FAA have worked together to implement Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) under the FAA’s Data Comm program. L3Harris provides air-ground data link communications using VDL Mode 2 to 65 airports and 20 en route air traffic control centers across the continental United States. Under this arrangement L3Harris provides data link as a managed service, delivering high availability services with stringent quality of service parameters such as capacity, data integrity, and latency under a service level agreement structure. Additionally, L3Harris provides engineering services to support the FAA with systems engineering, data analysis, system test, avionics validation, and operator outreach services.

The Data Comm program delivers operational benefits to aircraft operators in both the airport surface and en route airspace. Users benefit from reduced gate delays and taxi times at major airports and more efficient re-routes in the en route airspace.

Going global: Bringing managed services to the busiest markets
As global skies grow busier, L3Harris’ managed services model is finding success beyond U.S. borders. Since 2018, we’ve partnered with Airports Authority of India (AAI) to provide the Futuristic Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) India, a system that involves upgrading approximately 200 air traffic sites across the country to provide critical communication services.

The country’s legacy infrastructure requires continued modernization to meet the demands required for projected growth in air traffic. With this increasing demand, there was a clear need for a modernized safety-critical infrastructure which is tightly integrated with AAI’s voice, surveillance, weather and communication systems. As the managed services provider, L3Harris maintains a cohesive suite of systems including voice communications, network centers, surveillance tools, security operations and more.

“We combine our decades of knowledge of the global air navigation service arena with that of our in-country partner’s awareness of unique local priorities,” says Jim Eck, VP of Strategy and Business Development, L3Harris’ Mission Networks Sector. “This allows us to provide a managed service that’s specifically tailored to the national safety and security needs of each customer.”

Local Approach Speeds Up Global Success
Even though the benefits of a safety-critical managed service model for air traffic are both known and measurable, the challenge of implementing it successfully is often overlooked. To guarantee managed services success, L3Harris implements a local strategy – no matter the size or scope of the project.

“In every market, L3Harris works closely with the country’s ANSP and best-of-breed partners from the local private sector who have decades of local market history and capabilities, contributing their expertise to the overall success of the program,” according to Eck. “Rather than offer a generic solution, L3Harris invests the time to build relationships with in-country innovators to develop a tailored solution to meet the country’s unique needs.”

Eck and the L3Harris team are providing Airservices Australia with planning and design services to helping define and develop national network capabilities that can support their growing operations and modernization efforts. In collaboration with a strong team of local partners, the consortium is working together to create a system with the tools to help modernize the Australian airspace including Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) surveillance services, voice-over-IP VHF radio communications, an optimized network with the tools to support air traffic control and more.

To Eck, “we’re not just a technology company, we combine our system wide ATM technical knowledge with a business acumen that allows us to provide a managed service offered in a business model that aligns with customer funding strategies assuring best rate of return while addressing their most pressing needs.”

Moving Beyond Modernization to be Future Forward
L3Harris’ managed services are accelerating the transition from legacy networks to modern technologies through investment in network enhancements. The impact of air safety-critical managed services goes beyond fulfilling today’s needs. Safety-critical managed services from L3Harris empower air traffic management professionals to transform their organizations for the future.

With greater confidence in their technology capabilities, leaders of today’s airspace can look at innovative ways to improve the safety and security of our skies in the future.

While managing today’s global airspace continues to bring new challenges, L3Harris’ local approach demonstrated in countries like India and Australia illustrate what a stronger and more efficient airspace can look like. No matter the scale or location, today’s airspace management professionals can succeed at their shared mission of making air travel safe and efficient – powered by innovation and driven by collaboration.