Security technology developer Raytheon has deployed Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (Stars) at the Terminal Radar Approach Control (Tracon) site of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), US.

The Stars system has, so far, been installed at 168 facilities, under the Terminal Automation Modernization and Replacement (TAMR) contract awarded by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to Raytheon.

"Creating an effective, advanced and streamlined system, all while maintaining outstanding safety standards, is a key goal of the FAA’s Next Gen initiative."

Under the TAMR programme, the FAA is upgrading multiple air traffic control (ATC) technologies to a single Stars, providing the air traffic controllers the complete airspace picture. Raytheon is the prime contractor on Stars.

Stars provides ATC service to pilots in terminal airspace, that is the airspace immediately surrounding major airports.

The system receives radar data and flight plan information at more than 165 radar control facilities and several FAA and contract towers.

The data on separation and sequencing of air traffic, conflict and terrain avoidance alerts, weather advisories, and radar vectoring for departing and arriving traffic is shared among the various facilities.

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While 55 sites, where Stars already exists, are being upgraded with the latest features, older automation platforms are being replaced at 108 additional facilities.

A single terminal platform used throughout the National Airspace System reduces cost by eliminating the need to develop, test and deploy software on multiple systems, the FAA said.

Atlanta Tracon in Peachtree City, Georgia, covers around 2,800 operations in a day within a range of almost 19,000 square miles of airspace over north central Georgia and at certain areas in South Carolina and Alabama.

ATL Tracon uses five short-range and four long-range radar feeds and has 28 radar positions, two flight data positions and 13 hand-off / coordinator positions.

Raytheon Air Traffic Systems managing director Michael Espinola said: "Implementation of Stars brings the national airspace system into a single terminal-area operational system, which provides increased efficiencies in terms of resources, training and maintenance.

"Creating an effective, advanced and streamlined system, all while maintaining outstanding safety standards, is a key goal of the FAA’s Next Gen initiative."

Raytheon and the FAA have successfully completed Contractor Acceptance Inspections at 11 large FAA facilities, including Tracon and associated towers for New York, Potomac, Atlanta, Dallas/Ft Worth, Louisville, St Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver and Northern and Southern California.

The TAMR programme is being implemented in three phases, with the first two completed and the third underway.

The goal is to have the 11 Tracons that handle 80% of all country’s traffic fully deployed with Stars by October 2016, and complete the entire programme by 2020.

Image: The FAA’s TAMR programme is being implemented in three phases. Photo: courtesy of US Federal Aviation Administration.