Harris $331M FAA DataComm Team Includes ARINC, Thales, Washington Consulting; John O’Sullivan Comments

A Harris Corp.-led team has won a $331 million contract to provide the Federal Aviation Administration integration and engineering work for air traffic control communications, the company and the FAA both announced Thursday.

Team members for the seven-year contract include ARINC, Thales and Washington Consulting Inc., a subsidiary of Alion Science and Technology.

The contract includes 10 additional option years that could extend the FAA’s Data Communications Integrated Services contract to 2029 and increase the ceiling value.

ARINC will provide its avionics suite lab and avionics qualification program for the FAA’s DataComm systems along with existing airline relationships and network infrastructure, John O’Sullivan, a Harris vice president for mission critical networks, said in an ARINC release.

The team will help the agency manage and deliver data communications services by leveraging commercial air-to-ground digital data link networks to connect FAA air traffic control sites and data communications-equipped aircraft.

Harris will also establish an outreach initiative to encourage aircraft operators to equip their aircraft with DataComm-compatible avionics.

ARINC will provide subject matter experts in networking, protocols and very high frequency data link technology and help operators evaluate avionics equipment for potential upgrades.

ARINC works with nearly 85 percent of U.S.-based airlines, the company said.

The FAA intends for the DataComm system to supplement the agency’s analog voice-only air-to-ground communications system with a digital system, with the goal of DataComm eventually becoming the primary communication mode in air traffic.

DataComm is part of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transport System initiative, known as NextGen, for which Harris is developing a new voice communication system under a $291 million award.

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