FAA radar goes digital

Federal Aviation Administration

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The Federal Aviation Administration took another step today toward the modernization of air traffic control by announcing the first all-digital radar system is ready for national deployment.

The Airport Surveillance Radar-11 system will replace analog radars and provide improved digital data on aircraft and weather. This project is a joint effort between the Defense Department and the FAA, an agency of the Transportation Department.

The system will provide digital data for use by other air traffic control modernization efforts of the FAA, including the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System. That system has been providing radar data to the STARS system being tested at the Philadelphia International Airport.

"Digital radar is a critical component of a modernized airspace system," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. "The ASR-11 feeds more data more reliably to air traffic control for greater safety and efficiency."

According to FAA officials, the agency plans to buy 112 digital systems from Raytheon Co. Officials expect deployment to be completed by 2009.

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