AT LEAST THREE US industry teams will bid for a multi-million-dollar contract to modernise the US Federal Aviation Administration's terminal radar-approach-control (TRACON) system, which handles aircraft within 80km (45nm ) of US airports.

The aviation agency's upcoming standard terminal-automation-replacement system (STARS) competition involves the upgrade of more than 250 TRACON systems established across the USA at civil and military installations. The contract is worth at least $900 million to the winning industry team.

A Raytheon-Hughes team is offering features of the Raytheon AutoTrac 2000 and Hughes Tracview air-traffic-management systems. The FAA requires competitors to offer existing low-risk off-the-shelf hardware.

A second team is headed by Loral, where air-traffic control (ATC) is a growing business. It acquired IBM Federal Systems in 1994 and Unisys Defense Systems - the TRACON developer - this year. Loral Air Traffic Control is the prime contractor, with Harris Air Traffic Control Systems responsible for communications, maintenance and control.

BDM International and International Air Safety (IAS) are to form a new company, with BDM Air Safety Management to compete for ATC work worldwide. It is believed that Boeing will join BDM and IAS in the competition.

Source: Flight International