Mobile air traffic control system for U.S. Air Force to be designed by Raytheon

TEWSKBURY, MA. Raytheon won a U.S. Air Force contract to produce rapidly deployable air traffic control (ATC) systems that can be deployed anywhere in the world and then be completely operational controlling flights within six hours. Under the contract, potentially valued at $260 million -- Raytheon engineers will produce one Engineering and Manufacturing Development unit with production options for as many as 18 Deployable Radar Approach Control (D-RAPCON) systems.

Raytheon has been authorized for $50.6 million by the Air Force for the early development stage. Ten units will be deployed to the Air National Guard, seven to the active-duty Air Force Space Command, and one each to the Air Force ATC school and the Air Force depot.

D-RAPCON provides sequencing, separation of aircraft, airspace control services, and navigation assistance, all with the latest communications equipment, digital sensors, and advanced surveillance data processing systems. It is comprised of a transportable antenna as well as three trailer-sized shelters that house communications systems, radar equipment,, and an operations center with multiple controller work stations. Each station provides the same look and feel of what a controller would likely see at a major airport.

The Raytheon technology builds on subsystems, such as the Digital Airport Surveillance Radar (DASR) and the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS). U.S. Air Force air traffic controllers are certified and trained on STARS, the same automation system they work on at the fixed-base ATC sites.