Lockheed Martin hits water safety goals

U.S. Coast Guard

Lockheed Martin Corp. recently achieved several key milestones in the deployment of the Coast Guard's Ports and Waterways Safety System.

Known as PAWSS, the safety system is intended as an upgrade for the Vessel Tracking Service to enable Coast Guard officials to detect, identify and track vessels. The system is designed to increase safety through the more efficient management of vessel traffic on crowded waterways, similar in nature to an air traffic control system.

The Coast Guard awarded an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for PAWSS in 1998. The contract is currently funded at $44 million, and Lockheed is installing PAWSS in up to 17 ports.

Recently, Lockheed officials completed acceptance tests for the Vessel Traffic Service in New York Harbor, and will begin installing equipment in December.

In New Orleans, Lockheed officials installed the automatic identification system to cover traffic on the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico. Similar upgrades were also completed in Valdez, Ark.

Installations of core components for the vessel tracking service, including the Automatic Identification System, were completed in Houston and Galveston, Texas. The tracking service at Saint Ste. Marie, Mich., which monitors traffic between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, passed its site acceptance test.

PAWSS uses radar, radio communications, closed circuit television and infrared cameras, as well as the Automatic Identification System. The AIS provides instant identification data on ships that contain the proper transponders.

The information is relayed to a Vessel Traffic Center that tracks ships moving in and out of busy ports along heavily trafficked waterways such as the Mississippi River.

Remaining ports that will receive PAWSS installations or upgrades include Berwick Bay, La., Puget Sound in Seattle, Wash., Port Arthur, Texas and San Francisco. These actions are scheduled for completion by April 2005.

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