Oceanic air tech gets go-ahead

Federal Aviation Administration

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The government approved a Lockheed Martin Corp. system that will control U.S. air traffic over the ocean.

Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP) will replace existing Federal Aviation Administration systems that are responsible for the separation of aircraft over the oceans. Lockheed's technology will allow controllers to reduce space between aircraft, which is seen as an improvement in air traffic efficiency.

The company is currently installing hardware for the system in Anchorage, Alaska; Oakland, Calif.; and New York City, with site testing scheduled to start by 2005. The program will be integrated with the radar-processing functions of the Microprocessor En Route Automated Radar Tracking System.

"The ATOP system will provide much needed increased efficiency and oceanic airspace capacity to meet growing international air traffic," said Don Antonucci, president of Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions.

When functional, the new system will manage approximately 80 percent of the world's controlled oceanic airspace, including approximately 24 million square miles over the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. Much of the airspace over the oceans is not controlled by anyone.

Supporting Lockheed on the program are Adacel Inc., supplier of the oceanic automation software; Airways New Zealand and Sunhillo Corp., provider of the External Communications Server to allow access to external data interfaces.

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