FAA Taps ITT Corp. And GE's Naverus To Develop Nextgen RNP Procedures
By Daniel Baxter
May 13, 2012 - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
is awarding a contract to ITT Exelis and GE's Naverus to
help accelerate the development of satellite-based
procedures that will allow aircraft to fly more directly
to their destinations.
Under the $2.77 million contract, ITT Exelis, the prime
contractor, and GE's Naverus, the sub-contractor, will
develop Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approach
procedures into five airports: Ted Stevens Anchorage
International, James M. Cox Dayton International,
Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (Kansas City),
General Mitchell International (Milwaukee) and Syracuse
RNP is a type of performance-based navigation (PBN) that allows an aircraft to fly a specific path between two 3-dimensionally defined points in space. RNAV and RNP systems are fundamentally similar.
The key difference between them is the requirement for on-board performance monitoring and alerting. A navigation specification that includes a requirement for on-board navigation performance monitoring and alerting is referred to as an RNP specification. One not having such a requirement is referred to as an RNAV specification.
ITT Exelis and GE's Naverus will be responsible for designing,
implementing and maintaining a total of 10 procedures, two for
each airport. The FAA will closely monitor the work to make sure
all safety and environmental steps are conducted properly. This
effort will supplement the FAA's work to develop RNP procedures
for airports across the country. The FAA has developed 305 RNP
RNP also refers to the level of performance required for a
specific procedure or a specific block of airspace. An RNP of 10
means that a navigation system must be able to calculate its
position to within a circle with a radius of 10 nautical miles.
An RNP of 0.3 means the aircraft navigation system must be able
to calculate its position to within a circle with a radius of 3
tenths of a nautical mile.
"If you imagine highways in the sky, then these are high-speed
off ramps," said Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
"Aircraft using RNP approaches make a more direct and efficient
approach into the airport, also decreasing fuel burn."
The FAA awarded the contract to ITT Exelis and GE's Naverus through a
competitive process under the System Engineering 2020 contract, a
portfolio of work designed to help the agency roll out NextGen. Fiscal
year 2012 appropriations included funding for a contractor to develop
and deliver NextGen procedures, and the FAA reauthorization bill called
for the agency to demonstrate the ability of a contractor to design,
implement and maintain these procedures.
In 1996, Alaska Airlines became the first airline in the world to
utilize an RNP approach with its approach down the Gastineau Channel
into Juneau, Alaska. Alaska Airlines Captain Steve Fulton and Captain
Hal Anderson developed more than 30 RNP approaches for the airline's
In 2003 they founded Naverus which is the world leader in helping deploy
RNP and other PBN systems worldwide. In 2005, Alaska Airlines became the
first airline to utilize RNP approaches into Reagan National Airport to
avoid congestion. In April 2009, Alaska Airlines became the first
airline to gain approval from the FAA to validate their own RNP
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