The US FAA has issued a $280 million systems engineering contract to CSSI, the first in a series of up to six contracts the agency plans to award this spring and summer under its Systems Engineering 2020 (SE2020) portfolio.

Together, the contracts will represent the largest set of awards in the FAA's history. SE2020 is a systems engineering research and development programme that has a spending cap of $7 billion, says the FAA.

CSSI, a small woman-owned company in Washington DC, will take the lead over 10 subcontractors, seven of which are also small businesses, to perform engineering work for the FAA's next generation air transportation system (NextGen).

Of the potential five contracts remaining, the FAA says one will be issued to a small business as well.

DOT deputy secretary John Porcari says the work is complementary to what is being done by Mitre's centre for advanced aviation system development (CAASD), the non-profit organization that to date has performed much of the engineering work for NextGen.

"I don't see it as a turning away from [CAASD]," says Porcari. "It's broadening the base."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news