Harris joins FAA on A-76 bid

Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration will pair its in-house team with longtime industrial partner Harris Corp. to compete for a public/private Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 competition.

The FAA's team, named the Most Efficient Organization (MEO), is joining Harris to bid for the management and operation of the Automated Flight Service Station services. There are 58 flight service stations nationwide that provide weather information and flight planning services to pilots.

An A-76 competition determines whether services should be outsourced or kept within federal agencies. An A-76 study usually allows commercial companies to compete against bids from federal agencies.

FAA officials decided to take this partnership approach with Harris because of the company's existing capabilities, according to Bob McMullen, MEO program manager for the FAA.

The main piece of technology that Harris would integrate for flight station services is its Operational and Supportability Implementation System (OASIS), a next-generation platform for flight planning and weather briefing support.

McMullen said that OASIS has already been deployed to several flight service station facilities, making the company an attractive business partner.

"We see that as a natural fit to move forward with Harris," he said.

Under the agreement, the company would provide systems integration and communications capabilities for the flight stations.

As part of the company's long working history with the FAA, Harris is also the prime contractor for the agency's Telecommunications Infrastructure program, which will improve communication services at more than 5,000 FAA facilities. Agency officials recently announced plans to have the core components of this program in place by September.

Harris is also a contractor for the Rapid Preliminary Development Effort of the FAA's Next Generation Air/Ground Communications program. Other programs the company developed for the agency include the Weather and Radar Processor, a weather service for en-route air traffic controllers, and the Voice Switching and Control System, which provides air-to-ground communication links.

The MEO team also includes ICF Consulting Group Inc., which will provide consultation and support throughout the A-76 selection process. ICF support will end upon the awarding of the contract.

According to McMullen, a decision on the contract award is set for March 17, 2005.

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