Lockheed wins FAA sourcing deal

Lockheed Martin won a competitive sourcing deal worth almost $2 billion to run the Federal Aviation Administration's automated flight service stations.

FAA officials announced the award of a 10-year, $1.9 billion contract to Lockheed Martin, which will assume automated flight operations in October. The company's work will include upgrading computers and reducing the number of stations from 58 to 20 by March 2007, saving the FAA about $2.2 billion, officials said. Lockheed has worked with the FAA on terminal and en route area automation systems for 40 years.

The sourcing competition was conducted under the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76 guidelines. Competitive sourcing pits federal agency employees, in this case 2,500 FAA workers, against private firms. Besides Lockheed Martin and the employees group, Computer Sciences Corp., Northrop Grumman and Raytheon submitted proposals.

Officials say the FAA spent about $500 million on flight service operations in fiscal 2003, but federal fuel taxes from general aviation only offset about $60 million. And many automated stations have outdated technology and reside in deteriorating buildings.

Flight service employees provide weather briefs, search-and-rescue support and in-flight radio communications to mostly private and non-airline commercial pilots, but some pilots chose not to use those services. The new system built by Lockheed using commercial off-the-shelf equipment and software will store information on individual pilots in a database. That will make it easier for pilots to do flight planning, even allowing them to log on to the system before going to the airport, said Joe Wagovich, a Lockheed spokesman.

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