FAA awards Nexcom contracts

The Federal Aviation Administration today awarded contracts to ITT Industries Inc. and Harris Corp. for the first phase of a program to upgrade communications between pilots and air traffic controllers.

The 20-month deals, valued at $16 million and $21 million, respectively, will enable the companies to develop solutions for the FAA's Next Generation Air/Ground Communications (Nexcom) effort. They will produce packages that include architecture, equipment specifications and supporting technical documents.

The agency launched the Nexcom initiative — set for implementation in the latter part of 2009 — in response to an increasing demand for space on a crowded radio spectrum. The existing system has been used to direct airplanes for more than 50 years.

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