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FAA Takes Major Step in Next Generation Air/Ground Communications Program

Department of Transportation`s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established government-industry agreements with three companies…

Department of Transportation`s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established government-industry agreements with three companies for the development of technology that integrates digital voice and data into air/ground communications.



Under the agreements, Rockwell Collins Commercial Systems, Melbourne, FL; Honeywell Aerospace Electronic Systems, Redmond, WA; and Avidyne Corp., Lincoln, MA, will develop VHF Digital Link Mode-3 (VDL-3) avionics. The FAA will partially fund industry development of the airborne components of the Next Generation Air/Ground Communications (NEXCOM) program, which will enhance safety by replacing the ground radio system currently used for air traffic control communications with state-of-the-art digital technology.



Rockwell Collins and Honeywell will incorporate VDL-3 technology to extend existing VHF digital radio multimode capabilities for commercial air carriers. Avidyne Corp. will develop VDL-3 avionics for general aviation. Within the next few months, the FAA will establish an agreement for the development of VDL-3

avionics for business jets.



The agreements will ensure availability of VDL-3 avionics to support the NEXCOM System Demonstration Program, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2004. This program consists of a series of three demonstrations designed to illustrate the increasing maturity of VDL-3 technology. The agreements also

will ensure that VDL-3 avionics equipment will be available to the aviation community when the NEXCOM system is implemented in the latter part of 2009.



The NEXCOM system will enhance the FAA`s ability to meet expanding air traffic control communication demands.

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