Harris has received approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to commence work on the agency's seven-year, $150m Data Communications Network Services (DCNS) element of the Data Communications Integrated Services (DCIS) programme.
Work on the project is being carried out under the $331m DCIS contract won by Harris in September 2012, to assist the FAA in integrating its end-to-end data communications system.
DCNS will assist to transition the US air traffic control (ATC) from analogue voice communications to digital data connectivity, which would boost the efficiency and safety of the country's ATC system.
The latest approval brings the overall amount of FAA Data Communications contracts secured by Harris to $481m.
As part of the FAA DCNS contract, Harris will deliver terrestrial circuits and very high frequency data links to establish digital data communications between ground-based air traffic controllers (ATC) and flight crews.
The new system will facilitate effective communication between the ATCs and pilots by supplementing conventional voice communications with data, which would help the ATCS in departure clearances, weather routes and other air traffic procedures.
Improved air traffic procedures will also offer fuel savings, trim down flight times, while increasing air traffic capacity.
Harris Government Communications Systems Civil Programs NextGen Initiatives vice president John O'Sullivan said that DCNS is a critical next step in advancing the nation's aviation system into the digital era.
"The National Air Space primarily uses analog voice communications for air traffic control. DCNS will enable the FAA to begin a successful, early transition to comprehensive, digital data connectivity," Sullivan said.
Harris will work with other partners including ARINC, SITA, and Thales for executing the DCNS tasks.
Image: The transition from analog voice communications to digital data connectivity would enhance communication between ATC and pilots in the aircraft. Photo: US courtesy of the Department of Transportation.