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AFLCMC awards contract for rapidly deployable air traffic control system
Raytheon’s mobile surveillance and air traffic control radar system, pictured here, represents one of the mobile ATC radar systems in the Deployable Radar Approach Control, or D-RAPCON, system. (Courtesy photo)
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AFLCMC awards contract for rapidly deployable air traffic control system

Posted 5/7/2013   Updated 5/7/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Deborah Powers
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


5/7/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Officials at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center issued a $50.6 million Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract award to Raytheon Co. on April 24 to provide the U.S. Air Force with rapidly deployable air traffic control systems that can be deployed and operated anywhere in the world.

The contract was delayed last year after a $48 million congressional mark was made against the program's fiscal year 2012 EMD budget. However, the program office was able to move beyond the fiscal challenges and conducted a successful source selection resulting in the award.

"We're happy to be able to move forward with this important capability for the warfighter," said Maj. Annette Boender, Deployable Radar Approach Control, or D-RAPCON, program manager.

The D-RAPCON systems' contract will provide worldwide expeditionary terminal approach and en route surveillance for joint, coalition and civil aircraft to direct and monitor air missions through sequencing, separation of aircraft, navigation assistance and airspace control services. The contract uses a fixed-price structure in which the contractor has the responsibility for the performance costs and resulting profit.

D-RAPCON is a mobile air traffic control system capable of providing around-the-clock services in most operational weather conditions to military and civil aircraft for tactical locations and fixed-base restoral operations.

It's comprised of two subsystems - air surveillance radar and operations shelter, housing the air traffic controller workstations - each of which can be separately deployed. So, if the radar at the site becomes inoperable but the RAPCON is functioning, or vice versa, the required subsystem can be deployed to fill the need.

The modular systems are scalable, self-sufficient, and can be used at forward operating bases where the air traffic infrastructure is non-existent; or can serve in emergency and humanitarian missions in the event of failed fixed-base systems or natural disasters, according to Boender.

The new system will provide significantly improved radar accuracy and equipment reliability, maintainability and supportability over legacy deployable ATC systems.

"The COTS technology available today will allow us to replace obsolete analog radar and display automation equipment," said Richard Williams, contracting officer. While the legacy systems relied on analog technology, D-RAPCON utilizes digital signal processing as well as solid state electronics.

The contract, with a potential full value of $252 million, includes one pre-production unit and production options for 18 additional D-RAPCON systems. Ten of the systems will be delivered to the Air National Guard, seven will go to Air Force Space Command and for the remaining two systems, one will go to the Air Force Depot and the other to the ATC school, Boender said.

Production is scheduled to begin in 2017 with full operational capability scheduled for 2021; but, according to Boender, if the Air Force can and wants to accelerate, the program is equipped to do so.

The next step is a post-award conference expected to take place in two to three weeks. "And then we hit the ground running," Williams added.



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